We're Drowning in Reform

"Look, you... I'm very intelligent, if you're gonna give me hope you gotta do better than you’re doing. …. I mean, I'm drowning here, and you're describing the water!" - Jack Nicholson, As Good as It Gets

To me this quote describes exactly how we as teachers and administrators are feeling with all the changes coming from the State Department of Education. The TLE — apparently the 2 year delay now doesn’t affect the Other Academic Measures section. Common Core — there’s a huge divide between those who support it and those who don’t. Testing—the debacle from this past Spring’s testing was somehow labeled as the school district’s fault. The A-F School grade — whatever the heck that is based on. The list seems to go on and on.

Sadly, all the finger pointing and labeling are doing nothing more than “describing the water.” What exactly do they want from us? We are drowning in reforms. Give us specific practices that will improve student learning and our teaching methods. At a minimum, provide us funding to do what is asked. Let us be the professionals we were trained to be. Let us teach—not just react to every new idea thrown our way. Let us determine what works for our kids.

For us to stay afloat, we must have input into suggested changes. We are intelligent professionals who love our profession and despise seeing it devalued and labeled as failing. Public education is our ‘ocean’ and we want to navigate it successfully, not drown in the politics that seem to circle us like sharks.

Linda Hampton
OEA President


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