Live & Learn: Education Reform or Listening to Those Who Know Best

| January 31, 2013 | 0 Comments | Live & Learn


by Riley O’Casey

Legislators across the state of Virginia think they know the best form of education reform: eliminate teacher’s continuing contracts to “get rid of bad teachers,” create an evaluation system that will eventually lead to pay for performance, create charter schools, develop a school report card system and the best I have seen so far, bring Teach for America to Virginia’s schools.  Committees galore are developed to get all stakeholder input; however, it seems as though no one is listening to those who know education best: teachers and students. Yes, teachers AND students know education best, and it’s about time that their input is not only asked but taken seriously.

The last time I checked, our state and local legislators had very little experience in a classroom. How is it they know what’s best for public education? Teachers, on the other hand, know what’s best for public education and any type of reform needed to “fix our failing schools.”

According to Michelle Rhee, Virginia schools received a D– rating. Michelle Rhee, who many legislators think is the best of the best in education reform, has three years of teaching experience…THREE! And while teaching in Baltimore, she said once that her students were acting rowdy, so she taped their mouths shut. Should any teacher do this now, there is no discussion…no chances…this is grounds for automatic dismissal. And this “educator” is someone our legislators look to for reform in education? I think not! Teachers are on the front lines everyday, impacting the lives of their students. They are the people who should be able to give the input for education reform. Teachers are experienced and knowledgeable about the day-to-day workings of education, and what is needed to help their students succeed. Why would you not ask those who know best?

Students come to school every day to learn. Schools are the stability in many of their unstable lives. My students are the future of this country, and I take my role in molding their education very seriously. Every teacher I know takes this responsibility seriously. Children can be brutally honest to just about any question asked of them. These are also the people legislators and specialists should be asking for input…those who are most impacted. Children are a lot wiser than adults give them credit for; let’s ask those we deem “the future” to help us with the present.

© 2013, Bristow Beat. All rights reserved.

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