Tomorrow is the big day. My first presentation of the 4Rs Project to a local school. I am excited and nervous and hopeful and energized all at the same time. I hope that the teachers will be supportive of the project and its aims. I am going to launch a Facebook page for the 4Rs Project and keep moving forward no matter what the outcome.
The budget debate of the past week was not encouraging that we are moving toward any mutually acceptable solutions anytime soon. Teachers continue to bear a large portion of the blame game for deficits in state budgets. The case of the 8 years old being maced by a police officer in school scares me. The recent lock down drills at our school discourages me. With so much going on in today’s classrooms, where is the freedom and safety to teach and learn. In what other professions, emergency first responders and the military aside, do people go to work with the prospect of being hurt or killed; and do this for less than they could make in the private sector?
I am learning more about teacher tenure and evaluation systems, professional development support and No Child Left Behind mandates. There are many competing forces and our children will pay the price for a system that is not working equally well for all. Cutting more teachers, increasing class sizes, decreasing supports for families – how will this help us win the future?
We as a country seem to pay lip service to education and its importance to our ability to innovate, create, and move into the 21st century as a leader. It is all well and good to say we “want” the best, but we don’t back that up with action. If education was truly a national priority, it would not be one of the first things on the chopping block. As Bill Gates has pointed out, more money is not necessarily the answer. However, working with our teachers, creating meaningful professional evaluations and supports to mentor and coach the teachers of tomorrow are going to be needed. This will take real commitment, real-time, real vision and real support from the American people. Can we do that?