Military veterans could help at-risk schools (Thomen)

I congratulate the News Journal for its many articles regarding the successes and failures of our public schools.

A major failure you have had stories about is the poor performance of students in our "poverty schools." I am told that a major problem in such schools is the lack of discipline.

I have also been told that, because of the lack of discipline, and therefore a school environment not conducive to learning, experienced teachers refuse to teach in such schools. The result is that many of the teachers in these "difficult-to-teach" schools are our youngest, least experienced teachers.

To help remedy this mismatch between what is available, and what is needed, I suggest that our schools seek out retired military personnel - mature men and women who have experienced a disciplined environment and how such an environment is achieved.

Retired military personnel - think a master sergeant from the Marine Corps or Army, Navy SEALs or Army Rangers. They will probably not have the required college education - so what? They will have what is required and what is now missing.

I know of a retired Marine master sergeant who was hired by an inner-city school system. He obtained his certification during his first year of teaching and his college degree subsequently, and went on to teach for 10 years - a very satisfying second career, while contributing to improved learning by children and young adults at his school.

Why not give this idea a try, what is there to lose? Which New Castle superintendent and school board will have the courage to undertake this experiment?

James R. Thomen
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