Visiting with real experts

If there were some extra people wandering the halls at Bowie High School in Austin this morning, they probably were parentrefugees from Back to School night still trying to figure out the bell schedule and the campus geography.

I have lost count of how many of these annual events I have attended, but now I can add one more.

There isn’t much a teacher can tell parents in a 7minute meeting (the time allotted per class at Bowie last night), but at least we had a chance to put names with faces, get a brief outline of semester goals and jot down email addresses, phone numbers and websites.

I appreciated the teachers, who will be furthering the education of my son, Adrian, a sophomore, taking the extra time (without extra pay) to be there.

My favorite part of the evening, however, occurred on the way to Bowie, when I stopped at a sandwich shop down the road and ran into a Bowie math teacher who had done an outstanding job guiding Adrian’s older sister through the minefields of Algebra and preCalculus.

He was in his classroom every morning, an hour before school began, tutoring students who needed some extra help, and Taylor – an excellent student for whom math didn’t come easily was there when she needed to be. The extra attention paid off. She now is a predental junior at UTAustin and doing well.

I briefly interrupted the teacher’s dinner break to wish him well and catch him up on a former student. I’m not using his name because he doesn’t know I’m writing this and may not appreciate the attention. Taylor also had many other hardworking, dedicated teachers at Bowie, and I don’t want to try to list all their names.

I write a lot in this space about the politics of educational policy and about politicians, mainly political figures who profess to be educational experts but, in truth, haven’t a clue.

It is a pleasant change to write about real experts, the people in the classrooms who practice their professions every day and, with few exceptions, perform quite well, despite subpar – and often misguided support from the aforementioned pontificators


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