Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Time for a Change

So...if you're looking at my page and not reading with a fabulous reader service...you'll see I've made a little bit of a change to my blog template. I decided it was time for a little more color in my life.

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.

12 comments:

Cheryl said...

AMEN! On the Education part. :)

What we need is to get the Federal government OUT of education --they cannot possibly be able to fix anything they are saying they can fix. They can't because the demographic/socio-economic/religious/culture of each state tends to be different. Kids in Boston getting the same money/education as kids in Montana? It Doesn't Work. It can't! We need the States to control education because they know what's best for their demographic.

And you are right. We need Supplies. Money. Experience. Incentives for teachers to stay. Forcing kids to test (when half of them can't test well just based on personality alone!) and then judging teachers based on those scores is a lose-lose. Haven't we learned anything from NCLB?? It doesn't work!

On another note --I was hoping for the best from Obama. Now, after a month, I realize he's terrible. He's a genius with an agenda and our country is in big trouble...and yet the media, the country, everyone: "Oh, Obama! You're so great!"
Blah. Let's see how we all feel in four years, when we've been turned into a Socialist country.
*shudder*

(not that I have strong feelings on these subjects or anything! :) )

P.S. It's nice to see you around these parts again. :)

An Ordinary Mom said...

I am liking the new heading and I am liking your thoughts on education. I used to teach and I am all for giving the money to the local powers that be, not the bureaucracy.

Summer said...

Cute new look! I like the colors!

Janie said...

I agree!!!!!!!!! And I don't have a kid in public school yet.

I love the new look too. :)

Richelle said...

Great comments on education. "politicians do not know how to educate...professional educators know how to educate"--exactly! Politicians shouldn't be the ones deciding things like that. They are so far removed from the reality.

McEwens said...

love the new look, didnt catch all the speech

Amanda D said...

Your blog makeover looks great. I love the header.

I didn't listen to any of his speech (I was at a meeting) but I agree with you. Like Cheryl, I fear for our country.

Chelan said...

Yeah! I'm happy to see you back posting :-) I of course agree and I think there's going to be a little too much "more federal government" creeping into every part of our lives. I'm feeling like the fed. govt. is a bunch of clumsy unintelligent doctors chasing us with scalpels and I want to hide :-D
By the way, your new blog look is really beautiful.

Debbie said...

I've been missing you! And I love the new look around here.

My Ice Cream Diary said...

I love the new blog template. Very colorful and lively.

And I adore the idea of parent reviews for teachers and school systems. But, then that would require more normal, educated, and "good" parents. My brother-in-law is a public school administrator and he has horror stories of the stupid rantings and ravings of parents who want teachers fired just because they gave a student a zero on homework that wasn't turned in.

Amy & Mark said...

I'm so impressed by your insights and analysis! You make such good points. Personally, my brain has pretty much turned to mush so that I have a hard time stringing two sentences together. It's good to see you back on the blog again!

raybee... said...

Agreed!

Love the new blog look! Very fun.