My senior year in high school was marked by a teacher strike. The strike made me realize that while kids go to school, teachers go to work. Our teachers wanted better pay and benefits; a fairer process for tenure review; and fewer noneducational "babysitting" tasks. Today, I don't blame my teachers for their requests; as Mr. Ferrero points out, they are inherent to the dynamics between teachers and school boards and their full-time administrators.
But I agree with Mr. Ferrero that these dynamics must change.
Teacher development programs and partnerships between union and management could help new teachers succeed. It is in no one's best interest to see a new teacher fail.
We need a new approach to Advanced Placement. Why not consider tax credits for parents to send a bright child to college for a couple of classes, instead of placing the burden for instruction on public schools?
We need more flexible schedules. Summer school could help kids gain advanced standing and graduate early, just as it is used to help stragglers keep up.
Organizational change happens with leadership. I do not believe a superintendent must be an educator. A superintendent's skill set is more like that of a municipal business administrator: manage people with varied skills; negotiate contracts; arrange financing; develop facilities; direct budgets; and answer to voters.
Princeton, New Jersey