Here are some observations as we prepare to catch our breath at the end of a long year and prepare to dive into another one.
H – Hope. This is an appropriate theme for the season. Hope draws strength, though, from action.
A – Adios. Adios (finally) to No Child Left Behind.
P – Public schools. Public schools and the people who work in them will remain the best investment in the future of our country.
P – Patrick, Dan. Texas would be a better place if this self-styled education “reformer” were to quit listening to his own echo chamber and give an ear to the real experts — educators. We can wish for it, and we also can believe in Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy.
Y – Year, Old. Under-funded schools and over-tested students continued to say a lot in 2015 about the upside-down priorities of the statehouse majority. Change can begin in 2016, but it will require political action by educators, including you.
H – Hype. This is what school privatization advocates continue to peddle. Vouchers, corporate-style charters and an open taxpayer checkbook for private online schools are designed to line privateers’ pockets, not improve educational opportunities for the vast majority of Texas school children.
O – Opportunity. This is what public education offers to all children, regardless of where they come from or the prejudices some have to endure from presidential candidates and other “grown-ups” who should know better.
L – Less. Less testing! Less testing! Less testing!
I – Instruction, Ideology. The latter needs to butt out of the former in public classrooms.
D – Defined. Under-paid Texas educators deserve their defined-benefits pensions. But never, ever take them for granted.
A – Abbott, Greg. After a year in office, he still doesn’t understand that public schools, educators and students need more than lip service and bad appointments from the state’s highest elected official.
Y – Year, New. In the upcoming election year, every candidate will claim to be a “friend” of education. Don’t believe any of them until you check them out. Then vote for those who can prove themselves, regardless of party affiliation.
S – Students. Our future will always depend on them – and on the educators and staff who teach them and give them a safe and healthy learning environment. But you already knew that.
See you in 2016.