Next week is Teacher Appreciation Week, a reminder of the important work that teachers do every day, work that is vital to their students, to their communities and to everyone’s future.
Teachers will appreciate the special works of art, the gift cards, the lunches and the heart-felt words of appreciation they will receive from their students, parents and principals.
But Texas teachers deserve more. They also deserve appreciation from their governor and legislators, and I am not talking about the hollow, suitable-for-framing proclamations that amount to little more than a pat on the head.
I am talking about real appreciation.
Real appreciation, as in a meaningful pay raise that will make up much of the $7,300 deficit below the national average.
Real appreciation, as in more state funding for their classrooms and students, who now lag $2,300 below the national average in financial resources.
Real appreciation, as in less standardized testing for their students and more time for teachers to do what they do best – teach.
Real appreciation, as in less intrusion from self-styled education “reformers” and more input from the real experts, the teachers, in the setting of education policy.
Every week needs to be Teacher Appreciation Week, at the statehouse as well as the schoolhouse. The schoolhouse is covered, but the statehouse remains a challenge for teachers, parents and everyone else who truly values public education.
I hope Texas teachers enjoy the genuine tokens of appreciation they will receive next week from their students and parents. Then I hope they all will send a message to the statehouse on Election Day – a message that clearly spells out what real teacher appreciation means.
Vote Education First!