As in all school districts, Fort Worth ISD teachers are absent periodically, either for illness, personal leave or for training.
The standard practice is to provide substitute teachers using a cadre maintained by the central office. Yet every day, dozens of classrooms are left with no assigned substitute.
Last year, there were 10,000 instances of not enough individuals in the substitute pool to fill the requests.
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The school board even increased funding last year to eliminate these vacancies. Yet these funds remain unspent, and the number of classes with no substitute continues to grow.
This is not because there are not enough individuals available in our community. It is because the district refuses to advertise and recruit substitute teachers.
This problem is crucial for our four schools that have failed to make the improvement required by law.
One month last fall, the average teacher in these schools was absent two days. There was no assigned substitute in over 25 percent of the classes.
This is part of the reason for our poor test scores and also for historically high annual turnover rate (20 percent) in our teaching staff. It must be addressed.
Ann Sutherland, trustee, FWISD District 6
February is National Cancer Prevention Month.
As a gynecologic oncologist, I see the devastating effects of human papillomavirus (HPV) infection. HPV, which infects most people, causes nearly 40,000 cancers yearly in the United States, including cervical, anal and oropharyngeal.
Most of these cancers can be prevented with an adolescent vaccine. Yet, vaccination rates nationwide remain unacceptably low, with just 42 percent of girls and 28 percent of boys completing HPV vaccinations.
To protect the future health of our children, we must raise vaccination rates.
Last year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention adopted guidelines recommending just two shots for children under age 15.
We hope requiring only two shots will make it easier for parents to vaccinate their children to keep them from becoming future cancer patients.
Lois Ramondetta MD, University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston
I ask that the City Council pass a noise ordinance regarding communal religious announcements.
In many cities across the US, mosques have begun announcing a call to prayer five times per day beginning at 5 a.m.
In some cases the speakers can be heard up to 15 miles away. Imagine how this sounds to people living much closer than that!
David Jackson, Roanoke
Where better than the pulpit for Bishop Michael Olson to express how to “care for the children under his domain”?
Are immigrants not under his domain? Aren’t we all called to speak up against injustice as we see it happening in our streets, cities, state and country?
Not at all “disgraceful,” as one letter writer said.
“What you do for the least of these you do for me.”
Thank you so much Bishop Olson for speaking clearly and loudly. Remind me again and again.
Mary Sue Blackwell, Weatherford