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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: The decision had already been made

The following is a letter to the editor submitted to the Bemidji Pioneer by a reader. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the Bemidji Pioneer. To submit a letter, email letters@bemidjipioneer.com or mail it to Bemidji Pioneer, P.O. Box 455, Bemidji, MN 56601.

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Bemidji High School is moving from a four to five-period day because the district is, in part, not getting 10% highly qualified instruction time the teachers were hired to perform.

One might read this and assume teachers are lazy and taking advantage of the district.

Someone else might point out that high school teachers almost unanimously wanted to keep the four-period day and our only true input was forming a committee to offer suggestions on whether the move would be to five or six periods. In short, the decision had already been made.

Some may recall teachers being asked to support opaque language in a referendum proposal that made it seem the four-period schedule may remain in place, though the district made no such assurances.

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Teachers at the high school have long been told that it was teachers at middle and grade school levels who pushed for this change because they found the 90-minute prep time within the four-period block schedule inequitable.

Though one might offer this was never more than anecdotal and didn’t take into account other duties high school staff will no longer be able to perform. Such as teaching credit recovery, monitoring building entrances, watching kids eat their lunches, or guarding vandalized bathrooms and being verbally abused when directing students to their classes.

Most teachers do not believe our classes will get smaller but that has been the exact opposite trend in the past 30 years, and who knows if our staff will be cut even further. One could argue that the district now has less need because fewer teachers will be responsible for more classes and students.

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A teacher will now be responsible for 35 students in four classes, or 140 students a day, with 75 minutes to prep resulting in 15 fewer minutes each day to prep for 35 more students and one additional 75-minute class period. Some would debate whether that equates to a recipe for “high quality instruction.”

This may also exacerbate the challenge of recruiting and retaining highly qualified teachers.

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Some too might argue that true educators have never felt more like overworked, undervalued babysitters. Or that we feel as if we are being loaded with more weight and being scourged back to the salt mines.

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The following is a letter to the editor submitted by a reader and does not reflect the views of the Pioneer. Letters can be sent to letters@bemidjipioneer.com or P.O. Box 455, Bemidji, MN 56601.
The following is a letter to the editor submitted by a reader and does not reflect the views of the Pioneer. Letters can be sent to letters@bemidjipioneer.com or P.O. Box 455, Bemidji, MN 56601.
The following is a letter to the editor submitted by a reader and does not reflect the views of the Pioneer. Letters can be sent to letters@bemidjipioneer.com or P.O. Box 455, Bemidji, MN 56601.
The following is a letter to the editor submitted by a reader and does not reflect the views of the Pioneer. Letters can be sent to letters@bemidjipioneer.com or P.O. Box 455, Bemidji, MN 56601.