If we want an education system that cultivates innovation, then we must create a culture where teachers are encouraged to be innovative and free to excite their students to be constant learners. It starts by policymakers doing for education what former Motorola Chairman Robert W. Galvin advised: "Leaders must have the courage to take a risk and believe in the abilities of the people in their organization ... Leaders must establish an environment in which workers feel respected and valued."
For me personally, I was proud to stand with the Utah PTA, the Utah School Boards Association, the Utah Education Association, the Utah School Superintendents Association and the hundreds of individuals these groups represent, to advocate for the educational needs of our children.To those of you who stood by our children by writing your legislators, sending words of encouragement or participating in the rally, "Thank You!"
Even State Superintendent Brad Smith -- a lawyer, not a teacher, by training -- took a cheap shot at teachers and their friends by petulantly dismissing a Capitol rally in support of the governor's plan as the behavior of petulant toddlers.
Cracks like that don't help.
Smith, most of all, should be creating an atmosphere where the teachers and administrators who do the unfathomably difficult work of trying to educate children of all social, economic and ethnic backgrounds are treated as full and respected partners in a job that is not only the most important task of government, but of the whole of society.
It is a quandary that likely is at least as old as Plato's open-air academy. How to make the most efficient use of time and money to do the best job educating the next generation? If the answer were easy, it is unlikely that we would still be looking for it after more than 2,000 years.
That hasn't stopped members of the Utah Legislature from becoming a never-ending font of ideas that they are eager to sell as the silver bullet cure for public education. From private-school vouchers to iffy charter schools, from ever-changing testing regimes and over-simplistic grading systems to the idea that the next wave of technology will solve all of our problems.
Tue, 10 Mar 2015 15:03:00 +0000 Some Legislators' Motives Questioned The Utah Legislature seems to have taken the micromanaging of public education to a new level. Where there were once a dozen or so education measures proposed by lawmakers each year, we now regularly see more than 150 bills that impact our schools, teachers and students in a given year. This seems a bit disingenuous for legislators who claim to abhor government regulations and advocate for local control. Read the Commentary by UEA President, Sharon Gallagher-Fishbaugh