Reform Vs. Addressing Real Issues

Over the years, our teachers have honestly not asked for much. They’ve covered the losses by increasing class sizes, doing more work, taking pay reductions, helping with fundraisers, paying for things out of their own pockets, etc. They’ve consistently asked that we get education funding addressed in Colorado and they’ve advocated for it on their own time.

What other profession requires you to advocate for your own job? Every year? What profession requires regular visits to legislators at the Capitol who continually neglect public schools, issue unfunded mandates, and require educators to do more with less? When is the last time you had to talk to your legislator about social security? Well, PERA is the same and it gets attacked every year. The voters approved PERA in 1931, complaining that educators get PERA is like holding your neighbor down the street responsible for mineral rights agreements on your own property in a neighborhood developed 100 years ago. Why are educators attacked for PERA and not the sheriff, state troopers, judge, or DMV personnel?

Everything is not perfect in education and reform organizations popped up everywhere with experts who never worked in education having political fixes and thoughts as to how they were going to improve public schools.

“This “reform strategy,” a keystone of federal education policy while Arne Duncan was Secretary of Education, can only be described as a catastrophic failure…it sought to impose often draconian sanctions on teachers whose students were said to perform poorly and on principals who failed to get rid of such teachers.  

“While other countries put their efforts into producing a surplus of great teachers, the United States under Arne Duncan went looking for poor teachers, using methods for identifying them that had severe negative consequences.  

 “… survey after survey showed that teachers were telling their own children not to go into teaching, applications to teachers colleges plummeted and good teachers left teaching before getting to retirement age in ever-increasing numbers.  
“The result has been growing teacher shortages, which legislators have responded to by waiving the already very low requirements for teacher licensure and authorizing the granting of emergency certificates to people manifestly unqualified to teach.”

A few years back, at an education event here in Colorado, Dr. Jason Glass was on a panel of education experts (before he came to Jeffco.) His quote is still timely:

“One reform we’ve not yet tried is adequately funding education.”


Educators are starting to talk even more loudly. As they should. And parents of their students should be speaking out as well. Check out what happens when music teachers get involved in advocacy:

“They say, if you want to know what a community values, look at how its children are treated.  If you want a sense of what a community hopes for the future, look at how it values its schools.”