This op-ed column by Vera Woodson is the latest in a series of articles that will be featured under the new People Post column. The space is dedicated for Long Beach citizens to comment on local ideas and issues currently facing the city. Woodson’s op-ed is in response to an editorial posted by Dennis Smith, here. Send your op-ed or proposal to [email protected] to be featured in the People Post.

First of all, thank god Dennis Smith is no longer the President of the Long Beach Education Foundation, because he obviously has NEVER set foot on a K-12 campus. When you start a list of solutions by stating, “Ignoring for now the causes of the budget here are some ideas to use the budget crisis to restructure LBUSD for the long haul,” you should know you are no longer qualified to make a statement.
The solutions Mr. Smith proposed provide very detailed insight to the lack of understanding by those who profess to be education experts from the outside looking in. I truly believe if you want to change the game, you need to suit up and get in the game! Being a game announcer doesn’t always qualify a person to also be a game analyst.
Let’s start with the bus issue, shall we? If every school started at the same time, it would require additional buses and drivers to facilitate the routes. This is why school schedules are staggered, to allow fewer buses to pick up and transport more students during the day. You can stop reading now, because this one issue raised by Mr. Smith should tell you a lot about how his problem solving skills contribute to the plight of education today. Preparing solutions without understanding the problems… go figure.
Teacher Hours: Why would anyone in their right mind count recess as an off period for a teacher? Do you believe students are just roaming the playground unsupervised? This is a school, for god sake, not a wilderness attraction! Teachers are on high alert during recess. There is not one moment to sit and rest. Although they may rotate the supervision schedule, the teachers indoors are preparing for the next round of class sessions, answering parent emails, working, preparing extra-curricular activity schedules and events, reviewing data, collaborating in small learning communities, and maybe, just maybe using the restroom. Teachers may “teach” a six-hour day, however the contract is already extended beyond the closing bell. Didn’t you know this, or were you the President of the “Education” Foundation because you ran or were promoted unopposed? By the way, in Education we call them “Planning periods,” not “Off periods.” We are planning for the next period, as well as the next week.
If teachers are to stay an extra hour after school, are you picking up the tab? Since teachers already stay after school an hour or more for free, beyond contract hours, you want them to stay an additional hour? By all means mandate it; I am sure they would be more than happy to receive payment for the new requirement! Will you also pay extra for overnight field trips, support from teachers during extra-curricular activities that are not funded? What about phone calls, emails, and appointments beyond school hours? If so, I will move back to Long Beach, sell my Virginia and Florida properties, and become LBUSD Teacher of the Year by June!
Free Love: Mr. Smith stated loose facts about sexual activities that occur after school hours. Extending the school day is his solution to prevent teen pregnancy… crickets… *blank stare*… really? Leaving the doors of the school open stops teen pregnancy? Why don’t we keep the doors open, allow 7/11 to co-op space and then we can solve all of the teen pregnancy issues of the nation. Quick, call Bristol Palin for a press conference!
I could go on about this list of ridiculousness; however it would require two Aleve and my brain cells to be used for purposes not sanctioned by the School Board or the Teachers Union.  Mr. Smith, with all due respect, continue to be the “past” President of the Education Foundation. There is a reason for it.

Vera Woodson M.Ed., Ed.S. is a six year teacher in Falls Church, Virginia who owns property in Long Beach, California and is a Long Beach Polytechnic graduate of 1986.  A proud Jackrabbit until the day she dies! So hard to be a Rabbit!