Dear President Elect Trump, From Your Teachers

About Lori H Rice

Lori Rice is a fourth-grade teacher at West Elementary in Wamego, Kansas, who has taught K-2 reading as well as kindergarten, first grade and fourth grade for the past 19 years. Her students read books that are held together by tape, and because of budget cuts her school does not have a full-time librarian, art teacher, technology teacher or music teacher. As a result, she says, “our schedules are limited and cannot be arranged for what is best for students.”

It is American Education week.  This event is an honor given to teachers one week a year by the National Education Association since 1921.  The message this year is about empowering educators, students, and schools across the nation.  Educators have been long ignored as experts in education.  Empowerment is a timely message this week as we go through yet another transition in education.

Empowerment is a timely message this week as we go through yet another transition in education. Click To Tweet

In 2009, there was a state-led initiative to develop a common core curriculum across the United States.  The idea was to unite standards to ensure all students, no matter where they were learning, were receiving the knowledge they needed to be successful after high school  This has brought a great discussion to the table and allowed educators to move student learning to deeper levels.  Today 42 states still use these standards in some form.  The idea being, with a transient nation we need to be sure students are getting the information and content they need even if they move from state to state.  The standards also address public speaking, listening, and deeper level knowledge and application skills necessary to compete in a 21st-century world.  If we want to compete in the global economy we must be certain all students receive the skills they need.

While stagnation can cause danger, there is beauty in a gently rolling stream.  The environment is allowed to ebb and flow, change and adapt slowly.  This is often not the case in education.  With any new administration, there are often sweeping changes.  A roaring river tears through which erodes the landscape and leaves many gasping for breath.  As with the message of the National Education Association in empowering teachers, I hope we can use the expertise of those in the field to navigate the changes that are imminent in education this next year.

With any new administration, there are often sweeping changes. Click To Tweet

As an educator for 20 years, I have learned from my students.  I understand their thinking and know their needs.  I have seen curriculum and methods change, come and go and the pendulum swing from one end to the other.  This nation is blessed with many award-winning, exceptional educators that are experts in their field.  It is not tradition, however, to turn to those educators when making changes.  It is not tradition to use the experience and wisdom of educators to project the impact sweeping changes have on children.  What if we asked highly qualified, experienced teachers what we need in education?

Dear President Elect Trump,

I am writing to draw your attention to a matter of great importance. As you transition to leader of our great nation, there are statements you made on the campaign trail that will impact the lives of millions. I have read your position on common core in which you stated, “We’re going to be cutting tremendous amounts of money and waste and fraud and abuse. I may cut Department of Education– Common Core is a very bad thing. I think that it should be local education.”  While I applaud your understanding  the difference of school systems, there needs to be a guiding curriculum.  My small town, population 4,000, has different needs than large urban schools.  Our state and local boards of education are empowered to make decisions to be sure those needs are met.  With the number of children moving from state to state, however, it is important for a national curriculum to guide teaching in every school. Give control to the state and local levels to make the majority of the decision, but keep a guiding hand at the national level to ensure each student receives a quality education.  Our workforce is only as strong as the students we graduate.

While I applaud your understanding the difference of school systems, there needs to be a guiding… Click To Tweet

Just as a business runs on the expertise of its employees, a school system runs on the expertise of its educators.  There are numerous people working in our school systems who see the impact of national, state and local decisions on our children.  We have implemented change after change, no matter how absurd, with our biggest concern always being the well-being of our children.  Education is not a business, and educators know that.  We understand the complexity of child development, the impact of the family, Bloom’s taxonomy and Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.  If you want to know about common core and changes in education ask your experts.  While there are “education” experts that have moved into government jobs, if you really want to understand what is happening in schools ask a teacher.

You have a wealth of resources at your disposal.  Teachers educate themselves above expectations, network to share with each other and support each other and continually do what is best for our students.  We love to talk education.  I would ask you, as you begin to think of your promises to our country, to use the experts.  Before you decide to make a recommendation to abolish common core, ask your experts.  We are waiting to have a dialogue about our passion.

Sincerely,

An Expert Educator

 

President Elect

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By | 2016-11-17T11:00:20+00:00 November 17th, 2016|Common Core, Current Events in Education|0 Comments

About the Author:

Lori Rice is a fourth-grade teacher at West Elementary in Wamego, Kansas, who has taught K-2 reading as well as kindergarten, first grade and fourth grade for the past 19 years. Her students read books that are held together by tape, and because of budget cuts her school does not have a full-time librarian, art teacher, technology teacher or music teacher. As a result, she says, “our schedules are limited and cannot be arranged for what is best for students.”

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