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
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
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
Lisa Jones, Frank Armenta and Chuck Adams, Tucson
Sahuaro High School U. S. government teachers