Open letter to Bobby Jindal

Dear Mr. Jindal,

There have been many wonderful things you have done for this state. You are greatly loved by many. As a teacher I have a few thoughts on your new education plans. I understand that you want to focus on teachers.  I will agree that I have witnessed a few less than stellar teachers, but I wonder what you plan to do with the big issues in your schools.

Every day I would get to school and have to clean the rat feces off of my desk and the students desk. When I asked the health inspector what he could do about the rats he told me “there was nothing that could be done.” When rats would run along the wall in class it was very difficult to get the class back on track. There were a couple of holes in the windows of my classroom. I covered them with duct tape, yet wasps continued to get into class. I feared not only for students with allergies, but also that a simple wasp sting would hurt an innocent child. I wonder what your thoughts are on how I should teach in this room. What would you have done if this was your child’s classroom? There are quite a few schools that I know would fit this model.

The second big issue I faced was the lack of professional development. One of the big issues today is how are teachers do not spend enough time  training. I taught higher level math. I asked my district professional development coordinater if there was any math training the district offered past geometry. They said they had never had any. No training for Algebra 2, precalculus, or calculus. Let alone AP courses. I looked throughout the state for training to become a better math teacher and found very little. I wonder where in your new laws there is more teacher training for those that want to become better teachers.

The third big issue I faced was how to teach children coming from rough home lives. I had children who would sleep through class because they were homeless and slept on a school bench outside the previous night. Students who had been raped. Students who would be coming down from severe drug highs in the middle of class. Students vomiting from being drunk at 8 am. I was ill equipped on how to help them. I would have loved training on how to not only reach those students, but empower them to want to be great. Does part of your law include plans for these students and their teachers?

The fourth big issue I saw was the violence in school. Not once was the school put on lock down for a gun. The only way I knew they had found and taken a gun was by watching the evening news. Students would get into such violent fights that often someone left in an ambulance. I know there was training for non violent intervention, but it made no significant change. Many of the schools practiced positive behavior intervention. Yet, still guns and violence. What part of your new law deals with guns and violence in the schools?


A concerned teacher

11 thoughts on “Open letter to Bobby Jindal

  1. I know your post was about wider issues but the guns thing is still weird for us Aussies.

    Americans sell guns to almost anyone who wants one. You have a guns culture.

    And you wonder how you can possibly stop guns from being brought into schools.

    We have no guns culture. We have no guns in schools.
    I dont like to get political but….it just doesnt seem like rocket science to me???
    But i realise that i am talking to a a southern girl….

    • It is more of a fear culture. Everything is about fear here. THe more people fear the more they buy, the easier it is to get them to do what you want. And above all fear means we all need guns. I personally am not the biggest fan of all the guns, but I have to admit if someone breaks in my house I do like the idea of clicking a shot gun.

    • If I were to just write out the negative things he has done, it would be discarded as yet another hater. My purpose is to show that it is not about what he is doing wrong, it is about what he is ignoring. You catch more bees with honey my dear.

  2. I know this sounds silly, but simply repairing the building would help with student morale. They would feel like someone is invested in them if their classrooms were climate controlled, pest controlled, and brightly lit. I have seen this first hand in a Louisiana school. It is amazing what a fresh coat of paint and a replaced window pain can do to change the dynamic of a classroom.

    You’re also right about professional development. I have a degree in Mathematics. Many of my colleagues don’t. While I have no issue teaching any higher level math, they often struggle to explain the more difficult concepts in Geometry and Algebra I. Yet we have the same certification, MATH 6-12. This is truly unacceptable and it’s an issue that needs to be discussed.

    • I totally agree. A fresh classroom makes a world of difference. Why care about yourself if no one cares enough about you to make your school up to health code. Do not even get me started on the lack of mathematics training. I have yet to meet a teacher that would say no don’t give me more math training to make my job easier.

  3. I really enjoyed reading this post. I know sometimes it’s difficult to have all these bottled up emotions at the world and the society which we live in, especially when it’s easier to just scream really loudly and smash all those frustrations at the wall and just forget them. Sometimes you can feel so helpless when you wish it in your heart that things will hopefully be better… not for yourself, but for everyone.
    I believe it can happen one day… one day…

  4. In 2009, our district built new buildings, and it has really helped our students with pride, motivation and respect. But, as you mentioned above, the lack of professional development and the little training for teachers in dealing with students who are having home issues is a huge problem. My district is at 70% free and reduced lunch, so we are dealing with a ton of poverty issues and more. Great letter – I hope you send it and copy it to all of the representatives in your area!

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