Teacher Shortage Task Force (Part II)
** Media Alert **
State Superintendent Janet Barresi Holds Second Oklahoma Education Workforce Shortage Task Force Meeting
Who: State Superintendent Janet Barresi, common and higher education administrators and teachers as state lawmakers, chamber representatives and other contributors.
What: State Superintendent Janet Barresi will hold the second meeting of the Teacher Shortage Task Force. The focus will be to study current workforce shortage issues across the state as well ways to recruit and retain the best teachers for Oklahoma schools. The group will meet up to two additional times before the end of the year.
When: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2013
Where: State Capitol, 2300 N Lincoln Blvd., Oklahoma City, Room 412 B & C.
Maybe instead of looking at the people who choose not to become educators, we should take some time to focus on the ones who do. This doesn’t mean trotting the teacher of the year finalists out like show ponies at the state fair. This doesn’t mean grandstanding at campaign stops about how your big bad administrators are hoarding money and keeping you from having a $2,000 raise.
It means acknowledging that the people best suited to improve the profession are the ones who have dedicated their academic careers and decades of their lives to it. Studying for four years to become a teacher is more significant than cramming for five weeks to do it. Second to the lie that public education is failing is the myth that teacher preparation is broken. We should also acknowledge that earning a master’s degree should matter more than it does on the salary scale.
It means understanding that a principal is better suited to evaluate teachers than an algorithm developed by statisticians who have never taught a day in their life. Additionally, teachers should never have to deal with the frustration of continuously trying to meet targets that move after the school year ends.
It means funding education properly. When the state has a record amount of revenue to allocate, funding for public education should not remain lower than it was five years ago. And when the legislature puts $74 million of new money into common education, we shouldn’t accept a meager 28 percent of it going into the funding formula (especially when Barresi and the legislature harp about the non-instructional costs of school districts).
It means assessing students in a way that helps us learn what we need to know about them. Get in and get out. Don’t waste so much of our time that would be better spent on instruction. Let us teach.
It means utilizing our input when you invite us to serve on your committees. You should do more than hear us. You should not only acknowledge the words, but wait until the group you’ve convened finishes meeting before deciding what to do. You shouldn’t just call people together when you have your mind made up ahead of time.
It means understanding that the teaching profession is both complicated and simple. On one hand, a teacher has the responsibility to attend to the learning, safety, and emotional well-being of anywhere from a few children to more than a hundred. On the other hand, a teacher shows up, figures out what the kids need, and provides it – no matter what obstacles there are.
Given the support we get from the entities on Lincoln Boulevard in OKC, this state already has more great teachers than it deserves.