Thursday, May 27, 2010

Education Reform

Where is public education headed? This is a huge question and one that requires thinking about a variety of topics.

When I read about the "failure" of our schools I think about the very narrow definition based upon standardized testing and assessment. I submit that public schools in America, and specifically in Alaska, are NOT failing. American public schools today are faced with artificially set standards based upon the ideas of non-educators and expectations that are unrealistic.

How many Americans realize that Asian countries are currently revamping their educational systems to be more like ours? We represent the most creative, innovative, and inventive nation on earth. Why are we trying to be like countries who are now understanding that we have led the way to the future?

Do we have work to do in public education? Yes. Do we have schools that need improvement? Yes. We also have an obligation to include the community interests in what we teach and what programs we offer to our children. This is a big job and it will take all of us to work together if we are going to transform public schools.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

National Teacher Day

Teachers are trustworthy individuals who give of themselves every day of the school year. Today we honor their work by saying "Thank You" for the investment they make in our children. Teaching is much more than imparting specific knowledge and curriculum into our kids. Teaching is a commitment to providing a model of behavior and living honorably through respect and truth. Those who believe an education can be organized on a business methodology or that a person can learn to be a teacher in just a few short weeks are mistaken. Skilled practitioners take years to perfect their craft. The experience of a seasoned teacher cannot be replicated except through duplication of time and energy. There are no shortcuts to good teaching. I am awestruck every time I walk into the classroom of a professional educator who is bringing a love of learning and knowledge to the students who sit before them. Thank You to each and every teacher who taught me, my family members, my daughter. We are all better because of you!