I've loved the header that Summer designed for me a few months ago, but decided that I wanted to try a little something different. I'm also trying out a 3-column format for kicks. I found a fun place with some great freebies to try called, Simply Fabulous Blogger Templates. So...you are welcome to check them out too.
Now...what blog post would be complete without a little something from my brain...Speaking of Change....
I was watched President Obama's speech to congress last night and Gov. Jindal's response. As an average American citizen, I watched the speeches with interest and hope. I think that Pres. Obama makes a great speech, but I don't know that I agree with all of his proposals and plans.
One of the most interesting parts of the speech for me was the portion directed toward education. I'm sure this is because I live in a state where sweeping budget cuts are crippling a vibrant and important University system. I feel grateful that my husband will graduate in May and will not have to deal with all of the adverse effects of the current budget cuts (meaning...the most painful result of budget cuts - increased tuition). Along with my interest in a state University that is hurt, I am the wife of an educator and have many ties to teachers and have a child in public school.
I agreed with Pres. Obama's call for more education in the country. I am frustrated that education was the last thing President Obama discussed in the speeh and that the time spent discussing education only took a few minutes. I was concerned, in particular with the following statement:
But we know that our schools don’t just need more resources. They need more reform. That is why this budget creates new incentives for teacher performance; pathways for advancement, and rewards for success. We’ll invest in innovative programs that are already helping schools meet high standards and close achievement gaps.I'm sorry...but what our schools need is indeed...resources - they need computers, books, paper, field trips, access to specialized equipment, etc. Furthermore, I can't stand the idea of the federal government determining some matrix by which we judge teachers. Let's give the funds directly to schools and allow the schools to determine which teachers deserve rewards...not the government. Let's be clear...politicians do not know how to educate...professional educators know how to educate. More power and trust must be instilled at the level of the actual schools, not the districts, not the states, and certainly not the Washington Elite.
Let's ask parents and teachers who deserves a raise and who deserves a bonus...let's not consult a spreadsheet that determines based on arbitrary standards of achievement which teachers show 'evidence' of excelling. Why can't I, as a parent, recommend that the wonderful teacher who is changing the life of and preparing the educational foundation for my kindergartner be given a raise or a bonus for her efforts? I'm guessing that if teachers felt that parents would help determine their salary, those teachers who are doing poorly would start trying a little harder!
Yes...let's change education...but let's do it for the better. This is not something we want to screw up. The effects of what happens to educating our children will last much longer than the current economic recession and will have much further reaching effects.