Blogging from a Prompt: If I Were King
Towards the end of last night’s #oklaed chat, Jason James asked a great question that I thought would make a good topic for all education bloggers in Oklahoma.
Rob Miller even suggested a word limit.
First thing I’d do? Second thing? That’s tough, because there are about 25 things I want to do. And limit myself to 600 words? Even tougher! I’ll start with my Twitter response to the question.
- Our current state superintendent has been tireless in her effort to fix some of the broken things at the SDE while continuously advocating for our teachers. She has proposed a five year plan to raise the average teacher pay in Oklahoma by more than $5,000. I love it – so much that I want to double it. Raising the average teacher pay by the suggested amount would put us ahead of Utah. Raising it by $10,000 would put us ahead of Hawaii – and still below the national average. We have to consider that teacher pay is a moving target, except in Oklahoma, where it has been a sitting duck for the last eight years. Since the figures used to compare pay nationally include the cost of health insurance and retirement contributions, we also know that we aren’t likely to see the entire amount in our paychecks. A true 5k salary increase would cost the state much more than 5k. Superintendent Hofmeister understands that we have a huge unmet need in this state. Every kind of school district – big and small, rural, suburban, and urban – has teacher shortages. We have to make the profession more attractive to draw the best candidates. We have to fight to make the good teachers want to stay. It matters to our schools. It matters to our students.
- No Child Left Behind needs to go. In 2002, I liked the idea that we would use test data to identify and close achievement gaps. I did not think we would slide down the awful path we’ve taken, however. Some of the email news briefs I used to love reading for their teaching and leadership strategies are nothing but test prep and propaganda now. It’s very disillusioning. I’ve seen great teachers reduced to a shell of themselves. Even worse, I’ve seen them leave the profession. Our federal waiver is only better in the same way that draining pus provides slight relief from an infected wound. High-stakes testing is a constant shell game. The design ensures that there will be winners and losers. Losers become the targets of corporate education reform. While I’m all for Title I programs and the extra services they provide to schools serving high concentrations of poor students, I don’t like seeing their programs focused on the miserable part of education – testing. Learning should be fun. The closer you are to being on the dreaded list, the less likely it is that school remains so.
That’s it, and I kept it brief. Now, when do I start, and how much does it pay?
Since I didn’t use my entire allotment, here are a few other entries to the 600 word challenge from my blogeagues (I’m trying something there).
Tegan Teaches 5th – Queen for a Day!
Choosing the Road Not Taken – Another Brick in the Wall
Fourth Generation Teacher – #oklaed Queen for a Day
Nicole Shobert – Thoughts and Ramblings
Teaching from Here – If I Am the #Oklaed King for a Day!
Blue Cereal Education – #OklaEd ‘King for a Day’ Submission
The Principal’s Cluttered Desk – King for a Day of #OklaEd
This Teacher Sings – Challenge Accepted: Queen for a Day
View From the Edge – If I Were King of #Oklaed
John Thompson – Schools and L’Dor V’Dor; From Generation to Generation
momof4teacherofmany – Queen for a day…finally!!!
Admin Graffiti – King for a Day in 562 Words
Thoughts on Oklahoma Education – If I was King for the Day
Educate Me – If I Were King…for whatever reason
I’ll also include Joy’s contribution from last night, though it’s not necessarily a response to the chat question.