Lawmakers, treat Georgia teachers as professionals and give them a voice in policymaking!
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Good teachers are leaving Georgia's public schools and the profession everyday. In 2015, the Georgia Department of Education surveyed over 53,000 teachers across the state and asked them to rank the reasons why teachers leave the profession.
The top three reasons given were
- Number and emphasis of mandated tests
- Teacher evaluation method
- Level of teacher participation in decisions related to the profession.
A recent national opinion survey conducted by Education Evolving found that a whopping 91 percent of Americans believe teachers should have greater influence over decisions that affect student learning, with 81 percent of Americans indicating they trust teachers to make “schools run better.” A resounding 85 percent of Americans indicated they believed it is a good idea to have teams of teachers work collaboratively as leaders and partners to make professional decisions over the areas that matter most for their students, including selection of colleagues, evaluation, budget and resources, curriculum and school-level policymaking. Among surveyed teachers, more “voice” in school-based decisions is identified as one of the single changes that would most improve student learning, second only to increased parental involvement.
It is well past time for education policymakers in Georgia to follow the lead of the most innovative for-profit corporations in the world and flatten the top-down bureaucracy that has left classroom educators with no power and increasing accountability. Even as school system budgets have been cut, administrator ranks have grown and teachers are feeling more micromanaged than ever. We need a career path that allows educators to remain in the classroom and gain influence on policy as they gain experience. Important decisions about how students learn in the classroom should be informed by those who see students everyday--not a growing class of central office administrators who routinely experience students solely as numbers on a spreadsheet.
A great place to look for ideas is Teacher Powered Schools.
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