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Education goes beyond the classroom

Enough is enough.
Education isn’t limited to textbooks, computers and lectures. It’s been said before, but it’s worth repeating: Kids are sponges who learn by watching those around them. No one should know that better than those responsible for our young people’s education.
Unfortunately, it seems that some at North Harrison Community School Corp. have forgotten that. The school corporation and teachers’ association are in the sixth year without a new contract.
That’s inexcusable. Not only is it unfair to the teachers, it’s unfair to the taxpayers and future school boards, as it compromises the corporation’s ability to gauge future finances by leaving them in limbo. However, the greatest transgression is the negative impact it has on students.
The teaching staff at North Harrison are professionals, and it never should be suggested that they haven’t successfully separated their rightful frustrations over their contract with their ability to provide students with top-notch instruction. The problem is the students’ education extends beyond what they’re taught in the classroom.
Teachers, administrators, non-certified staff and even school board members all play a role in that education. It’s their responsibility, as de facto role models, to set a good example for students.
Regrettably, that hasn’t been the case with regard to the contract impasse. For a moment, forget the harsh rhetoric that’s been used at meetings, in newspaper articles and in letters to the editor and think about the lesson that is being taught to students.
Students are told ‘ either directly or indirectly ‘ almost daily the importance of working together to complete a task or to reach an amicable resolution to a problem. In doing so, the goal is to prepare them for adulthood, when the issues they face will be larger than a joint presentation in history class.
However, what good is that preparation when it’s being underminded by an unwillingness among those at the negotiation table to walk the walk? It’s a case of do as I say, not as I do. Don’t think for a second that students, especially the older ones, are unaware of the contract situation.
The heated rhetoric also undermines one of the earliest lessons taught in school: respect your fellow students. Disagreement is fine but inflammatory rhetoric isn’t, especially when it’s within public earshot. In other words, as the teacher on the playground would say, play nice.
The school corporation is in its sixth year without a new teachers’ contract. Think about it: This year’s seniors were sixth-graders when the contract dispute began. That’s essentially half of their school career.
It’s time to end the useless public rhetoric, sit down with a fresh perspective and pull an all-nighter or two until a contract agreement is reached and students once again can look to their school’s leaders for examples of the lessons they’re being taught in the classroom.
Enough is enough.

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