I've never been one to shy away from speaking truth. However, I have always tried to do it in a respectful manner. I'm going to attempt to maintain that standard for myself within this post, however I will also apologize in advance if I lose my cool.
Over the past year I have become involved with a fantastic statewide organization called EmpowerEdGeorgia. The focus of this organization is mainly to help create quality education throughout our state. There are some dynamic and brilliant people serving on the committee within this organization, many of whom have served in education for a long time at differing levels. I am humbled to have been also placed on the committee along with these wonderful people to represent the 12th district of Georgia.
All that said, I have advocated for quality education in Bulloch County for nine years now. I've had many wonderful experiences and have gotten to know teachers, staff, and principals all over the county. We are fortunate to have many teachers of excellence who not only do a great job motivating with creativity in the classroom, but also invest themselves in our kids by demonstrating genuine care; the mark of a true teacher.
On to my issue at hand. I sincerely hope the people of Bulloch County will hear this and take a stand because it's HIGH time for a serious change. I know many of our board members well, and several of them to some degree. I regret that I have to say I am so completely disappointed with the majority of this board, as well as our board office at this time. Where do I begin......
Last month a board meeting took place at which the Bulloch County teachers of the year were all honored. Other teachers also attended the meeting to celebrate with fellow teachers. During this meeting, one of our board members chose to verbally accost our Bulloch Teachers (SHS teachers in particular)...telling them they ought to be ashamed of themselves and how horrible our scores are, and on and on about AP issues, etc. I am absolutely beside myself awe struck than ANY board member would 1) believe they have the RIGHT to verbally address our faculty in such a way. 2)Think they have more experience and knowledge in the classroom than our trained faculty (This board member has never been a teacher) and 3) that our superintendent would allow this! This board member was seriously out of line and should be reprimanded at the very least.
And regardless of whether this person was directing comments at only the SHS teachers, it negatively impacted every teacher present. It is not the place of a board member to address faculty in this way. That is the job of the superintendent. Serious lines are being crossed.
We've also had a few teachers speak up about concerns they have within our county school system, and they have the right to respectfully do so. Too many of our teachers are fearful to speak honestly about what they are dealing with and what they are being told. And let me be clear that we are aware of exactly which teachers have been brave enough to speak honestly, and if any repercussions come against them from this county it will go to the state level immediately.
Finally, our district board office refuses to examine the detriment of the standards and systems created by Common Core. We have an opportunity right now to create some great educational experiences in Bulloch, but they don't want to do that. They want to tell ALL teachers to teach the same way, at the same time, the same thing. Haven't any of you ever heard or experienced that what works for one doesn't always work for another? Or that what is a good fit for one area or one group is not always and most often not a good fit for another? That is a rhetorical question because the answer is obvious...no you haven't. They continue to condescend to our teachers, making them feel unappreciated, overloading them with paperwork and material that can't possibly be tackled in the allotted time, and compromising our quality of education.
And...really? We're going to offer our superintendent huge potential raises when we're in the midst of low funding and financial concerns, teachers haven't been given raises in years and have actually lost pay due to furlough's etc? I'm absolutely appalled.
We are at a point now where the people of Bulloch County need to take control of this. They work for us. These are "public" schools. And if we aren't satisfied with what they do we can also pull our students OUT! We have elections coming up. Get educated on the candidates and don't buy into political rhetoric coming from their mouths.
We have a few great board members but that's about it. This is my position...I believe the only way we are going to bring great productive change to our Board of Education is to vote in highly qualified former teachers or administrators. Don't vote for someone just because they taught...make sure they have a good head on their shoulders and really understand what needs to be done.
Do not neglect your voting right in the area of Board members during the next election.
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