Two views of Sahuaro teacher's expertise
Arizona Daily Star
April 30, 2005

What about kids?

Re "Jim Kiser, Let's match teacher, job," April 27:
One of the most important lessons I teach my students is to consider all the facts before drawing a conclusion. To do otherwise is to make an uninformed decision and risk the possibility of looking foolish. Apparently, Mr. Kiser hasn't learned that lesson.
First he says a teacher has the "ethical obligation" to learn the subject he or she is teaching if the person is placed in the wrong field.
So the $60,000-plus I spent on my education to become a government teacher isn't enough; I need to spend thousands more to learn something I have no interest in, solely because the district doesn't want to do its job. Will it pay for my classes? And the time I need off to take them?
Second, he says, "I was taught that if you agree to do a job, you do your best at it. Anything else is unac- ceptable."
I agree wholeheartedly. Except, I never agreed to do this job. I was forced. I was content teaching social studies at Pueblo High School until reduced enrollment forced the district to transfer me, into science, no less.
I do my best to teach what I know, breaking down the book so the students can understand the material. But I don't have the in-depth knowledge to give them the science education they deserve.
Last, it is interesting to note Mr. Kiser "is married to Shirley Kiser, executive director of the Tucson Education Association. The TEA represents teachers and white-collar and food-service workers in the Tucson Unified School District."
I find it fascinating that someone so close to education can be so flippant about criticizing a teacher for caring more about the education of his students than the establishment.
With the Educational Leaders Inc. concerned with administrators and the TEA concerned with the teachers (or are they), who then is concerned about the kids? Just a thought.
Bruce P. Murchison
Teacher, Sahuaro High School
More involved than credit hours
We felt compelled to shed light on the other side of the story regarding "highly qualified" teachers.
Although we are not disputing Bruce Murchison's claim that he is teaching out of his area of expertise, we feel it is critical to inform the Sahuaro community that students are taught American government by "highly qualified" teachers as defined by the "No Child Left Behind Act," the Arizona Department of Education, and the Tucson Unified School District.
Mr. Murchison has applied in the past for positions within the Sahuaro Social Studies Department, as well as summer school positions, and has routinely challenged the hiring of other qualified candidates.
He has made the claim that he was entitled to these positions as he believed he was the "most" qualified candidate, when in fact the interview process confirmed that selections made placed the "most" qualified instructor in the classroom.
These teachers were selected based on their credentials, educational and practical experience, and consideration of the "whole child."
He is mistaken if he truly believes a major in political science, with 15 years helping in campaigns and running as a candidate, merits a government or social studies position.
In today's educational environment, one must be innovative. Society requires teachers to deal with a variety of student needs, such as English language learners, diverse learning styles, and high-stake testing.
Moreover, a professional educator has ethical and moral responsibilities that go beyond "strong content knowledge" to best serve students.
Finally, readers should be aware that Mr. Murchison had a social studies assignment with TUSD and was unhappy with that position, so he initiated a return to Sahuaro's Science Department.
We concur with the Star that teachers have ethical obligations to make themselves highly qualified. How in good conscience can Mr. Murchison shrug it off by placing the responsibility on the school district at the expense of students?
Lisa Jones, Frank Armenta and Chuck Adams, Tucson
Sahuaro High School U. S. government teachers