Vitti knows we need social workers and counselors, chooses to fund TFA instead

In a Times Union piece about uneven
discipline the superintendent gave an impassioned plea for more social workers
and mental health counselors, a sentiment that has been expressed on Education
Matters dozens and dozens of times, because often why a kid acts up or doesn’t
try in school often has nothing to do with school.
He
said
there are complexities behind those
numbers (suspensions/referrals), some having to do with student behavior, some
with teachers’ and administrators’ behaviors and assumptions, and some with
parents.
Also, there’s a community-wide lack
of mental health and emotional support for students growing up in poverty, he
said. Florida ranks 49th among 50 states in mental health funding, he added.

“We have children dealing with
depression, anger and frustrations that are linked to their socioeconomic
situations,” he said.

With better funding, he said,
schools and their community partners could scale up support services from
social workers, psychologists, mentors and improve the school’s outreach to
parents.
The super is dead on and the super also
had the resources dangled in front of him to put a huge dent in the problem. He
passed.
Instead the super has chosen to
spend over 5 million dollars (not counting benefits, salary and district
training) on Teach for America Teachers, rookie non-education majors who at
best have a whiff of classroom management training. It gets worse to because most
of them will be put in our neediest schools where “We have children dealing
with depression, anger and frustrations that are linked to their socioeconomic
situations,”
Instead of bringing scabs in, why wasn’t
the money invested in people who can really make a difference?
You know what gets me about our
super? He has a lot of good ideas that are only half implemented and he talks
the talk but doesn’t always walk the walk about what is best for our students.   

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