To the editors:
I teach biology at Martin Luther King High School. We are feeling the push in these weeks before the PSSA, but that is not the only test on King’s plate this year. We have faced fights, lockdowns, and a fire. Despite these obstacles, most of us continue to faithfully and passionately teach our students.
My department, science, is no exception. On the PSSA, our students will be assessed on using the scientific process in investigating real world problems. The response of my department is to integrate as many lab experiences as possible into our instruction.
The science wing of the building has long been a retreat for wayward students fleeing our school police – a source of trouble for our school climate. This trouble, though it may take refuge in the science wing, does not originate from the classrooms within this wing.
But after the fire, the District has proposed abandoning the science wing, closing it off with cinder blocks and moving our classrooms to other parts of the building. We would lose our proximity to one another, our centralized store of science supplies, and the lab rooms we depend upon.
I would ask the District how they expect us to fulfill our duty to our students in wake of such a drastic measure.
Instead, let us address staffing issues so that we have teachers to fill our vacancies and security to patrol the science wing. Allow us to provide interventions and discipline for students who continually disrupt instruction. Afford us proven programs to reach those students.
Let us look at the root causes of our climate issues and do something about them, instead of depriving the majority of our students a rich and competitive science education.