Letters to the Editor: February 4 – 10, 2016
Must Do More to Retain F.C.’s Great Teachers
In the first School Board meeting of the year, I proposed that the Falls Church schools survey employees on job satisfaction and to obtain feedback on school needs. The School Board may turn to the issue in March.
A survey is critical to retaining our great teachers. To keep them, we need to pay them competitively, but we must do more. What is it that our teachers want to stay in Falls Church? Are they satisfied with the professional development they receive? Without knowing the answers to these and other questions, our ability to keep teachers depends on partial information.
A survey is also critical to making our schools effective. Teachers, staff, and administrators are the bones and muscle of our schools, and it is great people and not laptops that make a difference in a child’s life. We have many programs in our schools, and our teachers have the best view of whether these programs are working. We impose many requirements on teachers too, and we need to hear from teachers about whether these requirements are furthering education or taking time that could be used for teaching.
All of us already hear from individual teachers, and that’s a great source of information. School Board members visit schools, especially during the budget season, to hear teacher feedback. We hear from the Superintendent, and that’s great too. But we really don’t know what most of the teachers think without a real, comprehensive survey.
To get valid results, the survey needs to be anonymous, and undertaken by a third party. To give the best results, it needs to be developed by professionals. That isn’t hard to accomplish – our surrounding jurisdictions in Virginia – Arlington, Fairfax, and Alexandria – already conduct employee surveys. I’ve seen the results from Fairfax and Arlington online, and it would interesting to compare our teachers’ views. We could use also the data to help judge how our School Board and administration are performing.
erns about cost. So let’s see – I bet a survey would pay for itself in better use of funds. And teachers also want to be heard: in 2014, Fairfax schools had a response rate of over 82%, with about as many responses as there are people in Falls Church City.
Member, Falls Church School Board
Nothing Wrong With Imposing Some Firearm Restrictions
There was a fascinating juxtaposition of two front-page articles in the Jan 21 News-Press. Three people shot outside State Theatre, and never-ending debate on changes to current free-fire open-season frontier-worthy gun non-regulations.
It’s baffling how people can argue with straight faces that requiring people in other states to meet the same requirements as Virginians for Virginia carry permits infringes on anyone’s rights. Exaggerated “What if?” arguments shouldn’t prevent crafting common-sense non-confiscatory firearms regulations to simply keep weapons away from people who shouldn’t – by any reasonable measure – have them.
Nobody protests highway speed limits because the government “could” impose a five mile per hour limit; by the same token, imposing some firearms restrictions doesn’t mean that anyone will suddenly confiscate the 300 million guns in circulation.
F.C. Should Be More Creative With Its Architecture
As I watch high rise buildings spring up around the city I have to wonder if we couldn’t be more creative with our architecture.
A recent TED.com talk by architect Ole Scheeren explores through examples from around the world how architecture can tell stories, be part of the lives of its inhabitants, and evolve as needed.
In a sophisticated, well educated city such as ours perhaps we could step outside the box and become a showcase for the region by pursuing inventive ways to use our limited space.
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