If you placed the world’s best teachers who have proven teaching abilities and innovative teaching strategies in a public school in our current public education system, what would happen?
Let’s review a real case from Central Florida shared in a letter to the President on his educational policies and reform initiatives.
April 23, 2010
Dear President Obama,
In your education reform initiatives, you state that “Teachers are the single most important resource to a child’s learning,” and you explain that you plan to remove ineffective teachers from the classroom and invest in innovative strategies to help teachers to improve student outcomes.
In Florida, our middle school had an excellent principal Mrs. P who was moved to another school to help improve them. Then a new principal from elementary school came in. He changed all the classroom locations and changed the school colors. He let the students vote on this and my students-I taught an elective allowing me the pleasure of teaching several hundred of them-wrote in that they desired that the school colors remain the same and new technology was purchased for the school instead. We even crunched the math for the proposal. The new principal was not too happy with the results, my students, or me.
He also changed my courses. I taught keyboarding and business education in one class to 6th, 7th, and 8th graders. I remember how boring typing for an entire semester was when I was a youth so in my courses, we typed for 15 minutes a day and then learned graphic arts and web design. The students flourished, they typed 35wpm (6th), 60wpm (7th), and up to 100wpm (8th) and they learned how to make entire websites. They also learned to make and illustrate digital books, write covers letters and resumes, and create future detailed goal plans. I customized their typing lessons to type college level writings and research in every subject to cross curriculum and improve student achievement in their other subject areas.
My former principal promoted me to TIMs where I taught other teachers to integrate technology in the county, yet my new principal took the web design and use of the internet sites like StartSomething away (which had exposed my students to online forms and web design & interactivity meeting the state standards for my course as well as gave them scholarship opportunities). The following year, this principal required the courses to be 100% keyboarding. My middle school students were previously doing COLLEGE level work, they loved it, they were achieving, and they were learning about all the other subjects and business education before him.
You can get the absolute best teachers in the classrooms but if they are limited by a principal or a school system that punishes students who are too advanced, then it is a waste of federal money and efforts. Part of the problem in our school was that when the 6th and 7th grade students were finished with my course, they were too advanced for the next year’s typing or computer course or even some high school courses since I had taught them college level web design and business education as a reward since they mastered typing at an employable level for adults. And the tenured teachers did not want to alter their curriculum or teaching style to accommodate this.
Please CHANGE THIS for the students. The school system, principals, and tenured teachers are draining our student’s brains through boredom and sub-standard busy work and contributing negatively to our economic and academic competitiveness worldwide.
Valencia Community College Tutor (most college course offerings)
Early childhood, Pre-K, and K-5 All Subjects
Business Education K6-12th
Delinquent and At-Risk Youth
Critical Shortage Areas
Continuing Education and Professional Training for Teachers and Adults
President Barack Obama, Education Issues – Reform and Invest in K-12 Education, The White House [4/23/10]