I haven't posted in a while, but a lot has been on my mind lately. Some of you know that I advocate for quality education locally and at the state level. I have been more and more disturbed by what is going on in both arenas.
Locally, we are blessed to have many teachers of excellence. My concern is this: How long will they stay here when they are being treated like people without a brain? Some of our principals work overtime just trying to keep moral up in their schools. Kudos to those principals who take the time to care.
Although we have had a few positive changes in local education in recent years, we still struggle with some of the same problems.... more and more paperwork for teachers, more and more regulation on teachers, less time for class discussion,larger class sizes, more and more teachers feeling unappreciated, more testing, less communication and support for teachers...which all leads to lower quality of education for students.
Now, let me clarify a bit. There have been many mandates coming down from the state, however, most of them left room for lots of flexibility, which our county chose NOT to take advantage of. Instead, they implemented the frameworks for Common Core very literally - which was never the intention.
Leadership has bought into the rhetoric of Common Core hook, line, and sinker. They can't answer (or choose not to) real, cold, hard, questions about Common Core. All they do is verbalize talking points given to them. They have chosen to take more and more control over teaching OUT of the hands and minds of teachers, and dictate how and what they should teach.
Teaching in and of itself really comes down to creating opportunities to use the mind. We can do this through creativity, creating curiosity, imagination, discussion, reading great literature, and researching. Ask your student how much of any of that is going on in their classroom. Would teachers love to be doing this? Most of them, YES! Do they have the time? No. Testing has become more and more the emphasis in schools. Testing does not teach, and teaching to the test, does not teach. But now teachers feel even more pressure to try to teach to the test(s) - of which the content is a complete mystery - because they are going to be evaluated on your student's results.
To some degree, this blog may sound like I am doing nothing more than complaining. But that is not my intention. I do hope to open more eyes to the problems our kids face in education today. Don't let people tell you that the federal government isn't involved. They are! And don't let people tell you that teachers created Common Core. They didn't!
We have a huge opportunity to make some positive changes in education in our state this coming November. First, locally, consider who your board member is. Have they done the job you believe they should be doing? We have a "few good men" on our board, but some need to consider moving on. Then look at your state education leadership.
We have an election this year for state superintendent. Too many people told me that when they voted in the primary and run-off, they didn't know anything about these candidates, so they just "picked one". This is appalling to me. We owe it to ourselves and to our children to KNOW who these people are, and place an educated vote.
I want to encourage each and every one of you to look at Richard Woods for State Superintendent. I have spoken with him several times and he is exactly what Georgia education needs. He is the ONLY candidate who does not support the status quo. He has tons of classroom experience (Should be required for anyone in leadership in education) and he has great ideas as to what needs to happen in our state educationally. He is our hope to restore quality education to the state of Georgia.
Research him for yourself. He also hopes to be in Statesboro to meet folks at some point. And then cast your vote for quality education without all the garbage! I hope you will consider Voting RICHARD WOODS in November.
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