As 2014 draws to a close, it’s great to have seen essays by 14 area teachers published in the Chi Sun Times so far. They’ve appeared as op-ed pieces, mainly in the Web edition — which is excellent because they stay there to be read by more and more people.
We can’t be sure how large the audience is, but at least Chicago area teachers are getting their voices heard and informing the public of the valuable contribution they make to our children’s growth. Not all of the writers agree on all education policy issues. But only when a wide range of parents and other citizens come to appreciate the complex challenges that good teachers take on, will they be prepared to support public schools with more resources and better policies.
Yes, it’s important to speak out and point out the ways that arbitrary standards and stultifying standardized tests undermine good schools and hurt the very minority children they claim to be helping, as some outstanding spokespersons are doing. But the other essential piece of the argument is to make clear just how valuable public education is and what elements within it need to be promoted.
So if you haven’t already read these teacher essays, please enjoy them now, share them with colleagues and friends, and help get them out to more of the public:
Adam Heenan — Common Core Threatens Good Teaching
Mia Valdez Quellhorst — Teaching Kindergarten, We Work to Find Joy
Jean Klasovsky — How to Make Chicago Schools Safe
Jessica Staff — Choosing Between Testing and True Learning
John Paulett — Teaching is an Art, Not a Science
Tammy Haggerty Jones — Undermining Kindergarten One Test at a Time
Rana Khan — Overcoming Odds in Poor Schools Requires a Personal Touch
Kristi Brooks — Let CPS Counselors Do Their Jobs
Phillip Cantor — When Kids Connect They Learn More
Alexa Lee-Hassan — Teaching Reading — and Tolerance — with Comic Books
Laurie Hendrickson — Making Magic in the Classroom
Christopher Bronke — Embracing the Good in Common Core
Hen Kennedy — Standardized Testing Stops Learning
Lillian Degand — Teacher Home Visits Transform Learning
Happy and meaningful holidays to all!