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OPINION | LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Meaning of education | You can't serve both | Thank you, teachers

May 7, 2022 at 3:03 a.m.

Meaning of education

University of Hamburgerology. It seems that's what the new leadership team at Henderson State University in Arkadelphia intends to turn the school into a McDonald's franchise of tools and trades. Under newly appointed Chancellor Chuck Ambrose's leadership, the 130-year-old university would be run on a new business model, virtually eliminating the allegedly unproductive liberal arts and humanities. Students would receive a "local" education, making them employable in southwest Arkansas for the rest of their lives. Out the window would go majors in music and English, for example, under the guise of "financial exigency."

Trouble is, "education" means to lead out of, to widen the viewpoint and possibilities of the educated. Not to limit them necessarily to a smithy. Ambrose and the like can see only so far as numbers. They miss the poetry built into an education, would rip the wings off and tie it to the purely practical, with the excuse that it's the only way to survive.

When a university like Henderson is in bad trouble. it's no time to gut its core, to subvert the very idea of a "uni," a one world of many viewpoints and establish a "mono" world of business practicality. To do so will eventually turn Henderson into a trade school. Let us hope the idea of a true university still means something in Arkansas.



You can't serve both

Evil? How much of it will you "evangelical Christians" take to your bosoms and still pretend it's OK? Your temerity evidenced by calling yourselves Christian is astonishing. The book which you profess to believe as the word of God tells you that a little leaven (evil) leavens the whole loaf.

An old adage says when you lie down with dogs you get up with fleas since you're considered just another dog by them.

You all know Donald Trump lied to you, and the courts as well as his own "attorney general in his pocket" Bill Barr confirmed that Trump lied. The man has proven himself amoral, immoral, irrational, narcissistic, arrogant beyond belief, as well as ignorant of knowledge essential for the governance of any human being. Persisting in lying to yourselves about the ones lying to you can't end well.

Now we have the daughter of a preacher who destroyed 87 state-owned hard drives, apparently to cover his hiney, and she lied to us about and for Trump. She is about to be coronated as governor while still lying to us. The worst part is these dishonest and prevaricating people have grown to believe their own lies!

Jesus spoke of those who'll call him Lord at the last day but will be told to depart for he never knew you. The book says the evil one is the father of lies. As long as you persist in the adoration of this worker of evil, you continue to be as low as he has proven himself to be. You can't serve both God and evil. At least quit sullying the name of Christ while refusing to abide by his teachings.



Thank you, teachers

As an educator, my gratitude for teachers this year is greater than ever. This teacher appreciation week, I simply cannot imagine where we would be without the amazing teachers who are working daily to support students and their families.

To the teachers who are sounding boards for me to share my struggles and frustrations while not allowing me to remain in a negative space, thank you for pushing me toward solutions for success and equitable improvements for students and staff.

To the teachers who are dedicated to collaboration, thank you for truly believing that "all means all," and living that sentiment out in your actions as you support all students in demonstrating their unique skills and abilities.

To all of the teachers who love my own children each and every day, filling gaps, giving hugs, developing them as leaders, especially on days where I simply cannot: Thank you, they need you and I do too.

To the teachers, each and every one, thank you. Thank you to those who have stepped away from the classroom to lead, those who have retired, and those who are preparing to enter the classroom--you are seen, you are loved, and you are needed.



Making a difference

In recent years, teacher shortages have become an increasing concern in education. The covid pandemic helped bring out these issues as more teachers began leaving the classroom. A Japanese proverb stated, "Better than a thousand days of diligent study is one day with a great teacher." Students need great teachers! So, how do we recruit and retain great teachers?

Let's begin by promoting our profession in the high school setting. Students should be provided the opportunity to work in classrooms and help current teachers at all grade levels. Teachers should encourage students to create or be members of future educator clubs, such as Teachers of Tomorrow. Invite colleges into the high school to further student interest and develop a relationship between the students and their education programs.

I recently asked teachers in a poll what they needed to stay in their profession. The most common answers were "smaller class sizes" and "support from administration." In smaller classrooms, the teacher can pull students and work with them in small groups or provide more one-on-one instruction. Smaller classes can also help prevent behavioral disruptions, which allows for more instructional time. Any teacher that has had 17 or fewer students would agree that they could accomplish much more than having 20 or more.

Administrators, remember what it is like to be in the classroom. There was a time when you needed help from your administrator, too. If you haven't been in the classroom in several years, try your best to get into them as much as possible. Teachers are doing the best that they can. Trust your teachers and be approachable. They should feel comfortable coming to you and seeking advice because as a leader, you are also a coach.

Teachers, let's help each other. Build one another up. Share ideas with one another. Ask others for help. And most importantly, know that you are making a difference.



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