Last week, at the end of the Mehlville school board meeting, board member Rich Franz about the roles of teachers that has drawn criticism ever since.
Franz, referring to teachers’ complaints that they are spending their own money for school supplies, said he challenged teachers to prove to him that the school district is not providing them with the resources to teach the basic curriculum.
“...this constant harping on this alleged idea that teachers have to take money out of their own pockets just to do their job and teach the basic curriculum I think is a lie that’s perpetrated on the taxpayers and I think it’s time that the taxpayers be treated to the truth and I think it’s time that the teachers either put up or shut up,” .
Franz’s comments drew criticism in both our website and Facebook page.
“I can assure you that I can present a receipt all I want for the things I need to support my students, but will never see a dime of it, Mr. Franz,” wrote one of our readers, who went by the name of Angela, in the comments section of the story. “You can't suck blood from a turnip. Until we really begin to value education and respect those who have dedicated their lives to it, we will never have the money!!! Like most educators I do it for the children, not the money. Also, my daughters attend Mehlville schools and I can assure you their teachers have spent out-of-pocket dollars with no reimbursement to provide them with more than the "basic" curriculum.”
Some, however, praised Franz for his determination.
“I agree with Mr Franz and applaud him for risking a backlash from the teacher-loving public,” wrote another reader going by the name of Teresa. “I work (12 months a year without spring or winter break - mind you) and bring my supplies with me to the office if they are not provided or if the company runs out. If it is costly, I submit a receipt for reimbursement. No big deal, everybody has extra expenses. The teachers need to get out in the real world, quit complaining about their job and concentrate on teaching.”
A teacher from even decided to write a in our publication to defend teachers’ commitment to teaching “beyond the curriculum.”
“Maybe if all the teachers just taught "the basic curriculum" and did not sponsor or coach outside activities and only worked the clock Rich and his followers would finally get what they pay for,” said Ed Taylor, who coaches the debate team at Oakville. “Teachers, what do you think? Nah, we won't. We couldn't live with ourselves.”
*Added July 3: See a video of the meeting; Franz's speech at 16 minutes.
What do you think about this issue? Should teachers have to spend their own money in order to go beyond the curriculum? Should they go beyond the curriculum at all? Should teachers be refunded in full by the district? Share your opinions with us in the comments section below.