With more budget cuts in sight, it is now more important than ever that RAL has the best teaching staff possible.
But with teachers being cut based on seniority, that is next to impossible.
RAL students have heard about all the budget reductions and reduction in force, but many do not know about the flawed system by which teachers are cut or moved to another building.
Stated simply, those who have worked at RAL the shortest time are more apt to get cut, regardless of their teaching abilities.
"If the school district cuts teachers based on seniority, and not their ability to teach, they're cheating the students on learning experiences and a quality high school experience," said 10th-grader Jackson Bates. "They should grade the teachers like the teachers grade us — by knowledge and skill."
A prime example of this occurred last year. Former RAL science teacher Audra Degg was awarded science teacher of the year for 2008-09. Despite such a great accomplishment, she was a casualty of the 2009 budget cuts because she had been working in the science department for the shortest amount of time.
Looking at it from a sports standpoint, would you cut your star player because he or she was a rookie?
No. And not only because of skill. Rookies generally make the least amount of money because they have not had time to accumulate raises in salary, so you could save much more money by cutting a seasoned player who will be retiring soon.
The saying "Practice makes perfect" does apply to teaching. There is no use in debating that teachers do generally become better as they get more experience.
But we also know that new ways of teaching have been developed that are much more effective when compared to those that many veteran teachers use.
Don't get me wrong: I'm not on a crusade against elderly teachers. I appreciate the loyalty and legacy which they have provided RAL, and many of them remain as good, if not better, teachers than younger colleagues.
The only point I am trying to get across is that teachers should be fired solely on how long they have been working at RAL. That system is unfair to students and teachers alike.
Instead, make cuts based on an organized system including work ethic, involvement in after-school activities, parent-teacher communication and other teaching related skills.
Then, let a board of community members observe the teachers in classrooms, without the teacher being aware of the spectators.
"I think it should be the community members who are deciding who gets cut, not the school district, not only because they are paying for the teaching staff, but also because it is their children who are getting taught by them," said junior Trent Pithan.
In this day and age, budget cuts are a fact of life, and with budget cuts come reduction in force. There is nothing that students, parents, or even school district can do about that.
But just because there are budget cuts does not give the district the right to rob us students of an education. By cutting the wrong teachers that is exactly what they are doing.