We Have a Voice

Bridget+Galindo+and+Jasmine+Sanchez+pose+for+a+picture+%28Briana+Garcia%29

Bridget Galindo and Jasmine Sanchez pose for a picture (Briana Garcia)

Briana Garcia, Co-Editor- in- Chief

School is more than just a place to learn for many students: it is a place to socialize and develop the ability to interact on a personal level with other humans. Here at Rangeview, we have a great student body and a faculty that cares, so naturally we students form relationships with our teachers. I have favorite teachers, but every teacher who I’ve come across, from elementary school to present day, has change my perspective on one thing or another making every single one of them role models.

Ms.Smith teaching students how to be successful in AP Lang (Briana Garcia)
Ms.Smith teaching students how to be successful in AP Lang (Briana Garcia)

     From Mr. Petry to Ms. Smithbaugh, the teachers I’ve encountered here in this community are the best I’ve ever come across, so, naturally, it was difficult for me to understand why some of the members of our great faculty were not invited back to RHS; likewise, for many of you. After hearing all three sides of the story I needed to get my opinion out there.

I always thought that student performance in the classroom was the determining factor when it came to rehiring teachers, but as Principal Ronald Fay enlightened me: it’s not. Student performance is only one small factor when determining whether a teacher belongs at Rangeview.

With that said, every principal has an idea about a legacy they would like to leave behind; some are recalcitrant in their decisions, others listen to the voices of students. Either way Principals tend to hold most of the power when it comes to the hiring process. Personally, I think this is one of the biggest mistakes of the educational hiring system today; student opinions should be taken into account in the rehiring process. This is only because some principals may not have the students’ best interest at heart unlike ours. I’ve lost a teacher who meant a lot to me and had a lot to do with my academic improvement because student voices are not taken into account when it comes to the re-hiring process.

We deserve a voice in all of this. We interact with teachers the most in academic atmospheres. Our opinions should be valued. We live in a democratic society, but as students, we do not get to exercise our rights as citizens.

I am more than my grades: I am a person who has a voice that needs to be heard and valued. I’m not saying that the administration doesn’t value what we have to say, but they don’t consider it as much as they should on it. We attend this school nearly every day. Some of us love, and some hate it, but I doubt a climate survey is really going to capture my true feelings about this place, my second home, and the most irritating eight hours in day. If that climate survey we take near the end of the year really had any weight on school policy, we’d be required to read the hand book every year.

Last year, some teachers whom were respected amongst a majority of students were not asked to return to Rangeview. As one can imagine, this caused uproar of controversy within our student body. It was us versus the administration. I had no grasp, and still have no grasp as to why, my favorite teacher, David Brooks, was not asked to return to Rangeview. I still do not agree with the decision, nor do I understand it, but it got me to thinking, why doesn’t our opinion matter? I mean students started a movement, our petition, and the numerous essays that flooded Fay’s desk, but these efforts didn’t seem to change anything. Were they even read? These were the thoughts fueling my rage last year.

We don’t matter, so why try, right?

WRONG. We are the future voices of America, and we should utilize it. Of course, like any democratic republic, our opinions will not be the deciding factors when it comes to deciding whether or not teachers should be let go. The educational hiring process should be reformed so that the voices of students are significant within it.

“[Student opinions should count for] 10-15% of the evaluation. After all, some administrators know what they’re doing and some teachers shouldn’t be fired because a few kids hate the subject or failed to try hard enough,” suggested Brooks about student voices within teacher evaluations.

Students all have teacher whom they are not too fond of, but a system that would prevent slander would be easy enough to create and implement. I have had my fair share of unfair teachers whom I would describe as inconsiderate, but never would I ever slander their name because teaching is their livelihood and they do not deserve to have that stripped from them because of a few silly students and administrators.

The era of organized rebellion over, yes, but that does not mean that we should ever stop voicing our opinions and attempting to lead movements because we are people, and there are things adults can learn from us that they don’t already know. So, let us channel our democratic spirits to make our voices heard. I write with a true desire to fuel student’s ability to change what Education means in the United States.