Sunday, August 16, 2009

Secretary of Education Comes to Alaska

Last week was a real opportunity to share the Alaskan perspective on NCLB and education. Secretary Arne Duncan was in our state to listen and collect information on the needs of public educators and Alaska's schools. During his visit to Bethel on Wednesday I was able to share the need to correct the requirement that a letter be sent to parents explaining that teachers are not highly qualified in every subject they teach. This puts undue doubt into the minds of community members that educators may not be able to do the job. Further, it is demoralizing to teachers when they are working hard and don't have control over which courses they are assigned to teach. I also stated concern about a lack of role models for rural students and encouragement for them to become teachers. It is tough to share a love of learning with students when they see educators doing non-stop test prep instead of providing creativity opportunities for growth. The good news is that I think the Secretary was really listening and has plans to do a thorough remodel of NCLB. He even wants a new name for it!

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