Readers: These 10 education policies need to go

3. Unfunded mandates

“The policy that I’d like changed is the underfunded special-education mandate from the government. It seems that we spend so much money to educate special-needs students when classrooms full of kids are suffering from budget cuts. Our special-needs kids should certainly have an equal and appropriate education, but putting the majority of the cost of that on the backs of individual districts is unfair. My district does an amazing job of programming for these [children], and as a result, it has an unfair burden because parents come here for those services. That relieves some burden on neighboring districts and adds to ours. The government needs to fund the mandates they make, end of story. If you can’t afford it, neither can we!” —Terri Greer


2. Teacher seniority preferences

“I would ax the ‘no-fire’ policy from every teacher’s union contract in America, and when layoffs are necessary, lay people off based on some type of performance gradient, rather than by years experience. The school I currently teach in had half of the staff laid off last year, and they were replaced by other teachers from within the school district who have more experience. Out of the new teachers, at least two have threatened students’ homework grades if they don’t provide a ream of paper for copies, and … a few of them complain about things ‘not being in their contract.’ These types of teachers infuriate me, especially in a low-income area where the students come from so little.” —Andy, Philadelphia, Pa.


“No Child Left Behind.” —Don Meltabarger, director of business and facilities, East Lyme Public Schools

“I think a big problem in teaching today is over-testing, teaching to the test to improve data scores.” —Jackie Johnson

Meris Stansbury

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