Do What’s Best For Our Kids

By October 17, 2014 No Comments

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I am a public high school teacher and coach in the state of Missouri, and proud of it. I did not get into this profession for money or glory; I did it because I want to make a positive difference. In recent years it has become all too common to see teachers being attacked in the media. This week I’m writing to defend my colleagues and profession, as well as to ask that we all do what’s best for the kids this November.

It seems as though it’s becoming more common to degrade the teaching profession and its significance. Teaching is one of the noblest and most important jobs in the world. Young minds are being shaped every day, and I have yet to meet one teacher who did not realize this. I’m tired of seeing my profession and fellow colleagues being put in a negative light. Are there bad teachers? Yes, of course there are. However, there are bad employees in every company and business. Yet I don’t see countless articles about it or newspapers publishing links to look up their salaries. Teachers got into this profession because they love kids and want to help them learn. We want to make an impact on our future generations. We understand the responsibility that comes with this great role and accept it. However, we will not stand for people mocking or degrading our profession. We’re also against putting unfair and biased amendments in front of the voters that will harm the educational world; which is exactly what’s happening in Missouri.

Teachers are not afraid of being evaluated. The vast majority of teachers welcome evaluation because they want to get better, and want to be the best they can be for their students. I am a tenured teacher and am being evaluated this year. I am confident in my ability as a classroom teacher and welcome the opportunity to improve. I want to be a better teacher each and every year. I am not perfect; I am a work in progress just like my students are. The true value and worth of teachers and students cannot be measured solely by the results from standardized testing.

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This November Amendment 3 will be put on the ballot for voters to decide upon. On the surface it looks great but it’s not what it says it is. Who wouldn’t want to improve the quality of teachers? However, this is one of the most misleading ballot items you will ever find. In fact, the group that headed the initiative to get it on the ballot has withdrawn their support. That should speak VOLUMES to the public. Over 160 school districts in the state of Missouri have passed resolutions opposing the amendment along with the Missouri School Boards’ Association.

Amendment 3 is not in the best interest of our children. It does more harm to the educational system than good. It will take away local control from parents, students, teachers, and school districts. This amendment will force educators to treat students like numbers rather than the unique individuals they are. It will offer little room for individualization and it will force teachers to “teach to the test.” Teachers would be forced to “teach to the test”, because their evaluations would primarily be tied to student scores on standardized tests. Standardized testing gives an incomplete picture to a child’s ability, much less the teacher’s ability. There are better ways of measuring a teacher’s worth than adding extra stress onto our children through standardized testing.

We want our children to think outside of the box, not simply be able to check one on a standardized test. Another major problem with Amendment 3 is the cost. It would cost taxpayers and local school districts over $1 billion. School funding is already an issue and this will only make it worse. Amendment 3 takes away money that would be spent on improving classrooms. How are growing districts that need public support through bond issues supposed to effectively expand and provide quality resources while funding this measure? It wouldn’t happen, it would cripple school districts. Amendment 3 would also greatly decrease the number of “teachable moments” that occur in a classroom because those are not covered on standardized tests.

I love my job and the profession I’m in. I’m tired of teachers being put in an unfair light. We need to do what’s best for our children and support our local schools and teachers. The vast majority of teachers I know genuinely care about their students and their profession. They work many hours off of the clock and treat students like their own kids.

It’s time we do what’s best for our children and support our teachers. This November, do what’s best for our children and vote NO on Amendment 3.

As always, thanks for reading, have a great week, and be an RGP today!