Thursday, September 8, 2016

It's A National Emergency

This is my thirteenth year in public education, I've been a teacher - Assistant Principal - Principal and am now a Director of Innovation, my dad taught 2nd and 3rd grade for thirty-eight years, my oldest child is now in Kindergarten. 

I'm connected with educators all around the country, and many that I talk with feel the same frustration. 

No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top, Common Core - in my thirteen years there's been so many new programs from the federal level. Yes, when I started teaching the iPad and Chromebook had not yet been invented. Google Docs hadn't been created yet either. And of course, we have much more educational research at our fingertips in those thirteen years.

It's so great working with smart, caring and passionate educators. As a country are we just spinning around and around though? 


Do the people making these decisions that hold public office know what it's like to work in a public school, day after day? That many of our teachers rely on Donors Choose to fund new and innovative ideas for their class.

A Chromebook is 100x more powerful than a pencil, yet so many of our students, classrooms, schools and districts don't have them or don't have enough. I believe this is a national emergency, spend less money on politics, politicians, aircraft carriers, weapon systems, fancy flights for dignitaries and do what's best for our kids. 

Get all kids connected, get all kids access and provide quality programs and pathways for teachers to support our kids.

I just wonder how many articles I'm going to read everyday in numerous different media outlets about the importance of coding in school. How many jobs we're going to outsource to other countries because our kids in our schools are not being taught how to code, why they should code and making it an actual part of the curriculum.

Just yesterday I was visiting one of our middle schools and EVERY 6th grader is taking a coding rotation. They're learning how to code in Scratch and it was an absolutely amazing sixty minutes that I observed. I truly believe that it's a national emergency that our students learn to code.

They all won't become programmers after high school or college. But they all will learn extremely valuable problem solving skills, communication skills, working in partners/teams, and they'll have the satisfaction of building something and then seeing an outcome based on what they've done.

I wish we could all get in sync. I wish we could all be on the same page. I wish the elected officials making the decisions that impact us, were previous teachers - Principals - district office personnel. Then they would actually know what we're going through. That quite often many educators feel like they're in a hamster wheel. Spinning around and around and around. Working super hard but not really going anywhere. Not being supported, encouraged or guided in a direction of success.

This is a national emergency - we must all come together, it's not about the adults - it's about the kids. We need to stop listening to lobbyist and text book companies who try and package the new shiny curriculum. We need more coding, more recess, more kudos, more technology that's integrated thoughtfully, more relationship building and less profit margins.

We can do this, I really hope we come together as a country to do what's best for kids - they deserve it.

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