Dear Presidential Candidates,
My name is Emily Liscom, and I am the author of this website, Education to the Core. Many of the readers here are teachers and support staff in school districts across the United States. As you may already know, many teachers are extremely passionate about education because we have devoted our lives to developing as professionals, and making a difference in the lives of students.
I developed this site as a platform for educators, looking to enhance their methods. My hope was to provide best teaching practices, practical strategies, behavior management tips, controversy, humor, and above all else, truth. It is my ultimate goal to provide teachers, including those who are oppressed, with a platform in which they could share their true feelings.
I will not hide my strong passion for education. There is a dire need to address certain issues happening in our field. The public needs to be reminded that education is and will always be the key to achieving the American Dream. I stand behind Mr. Nelson Mandela’s statement in that, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
Unfortunately, education is a field that is often overlooked and pushed to the back burner by politicians and the public.
I am asking you for a brief moment to listen to what we have to share with you. Although data is important, let’s agree to put it to the side for a moment in time, and just hear us out. Listen to those that are “in it” day in and day out. Listen to the voices of teachers, and the stories that can not be displayed on a spreadsheet or a graph.
“In no other profession, are people told what to do, how to do it, and judged as incompetent when those inappropriate practices don’t work. In no other profession, are there standards created by people from outside the profession who know nothing of child development and true best practices. No other profession is so completely necessary to society or so completely vilified by politicians for political gain. We are starting to lose our best teachers because they can no longer live with the daily stresses of trying to do what they’re ordered to do when they know it is wrong for children. Furthermore, young people who might have gone into the profession are staying away. They know it is no longer a respected career. Let children learn through play. Let teachers teach creatively. Stop the emotional abuse of standardized testing and early academics that do absolutely nothing to improve education, and instead are harming a generation of children.” -Mindi S.
“As a recent college graduate, I spent my entire college career having teachers, who love their jobs, telling me not to pursue the field of education. Not because they can’t handle the students or the teaching, but because they can’t handle politics and the trainwreck it has turned public education into. I’ve watched my friends, who are amazing teachers, leave the field before they even begun. Education is the foundation of our nation, but you’re driving good teachers away and making it impossible for those who stay to do their job. Have you ever studied Finland’s education system or any that works? Quit running education like a business. Quit treating us as if we aren’t professionals. Quit having people who have never taught be the decision makers. Or watch our country face an education collapse. Kofi Annan said, “Education is a human right with immense power to transform. On its foundation rest the cornerstones of freedom, democracy and sustainable human development.” If we lose one, what will happen to the others?” -Amanda L.
“Let’s do what’s developmentally appropriate for our kids. We need fun brought back into the classroom and excessive testing to be taken out.” -Kristen K. from Easy Teaching Tools
“Enough is Enough! Stop indicting teachers for circumstances beyond their control. Stop using one test as a metric or the sum total of my work…which is more than teaching to a test. Stop devaluing me in the media for your professional gain by continuing rhetoric that does not elevate, but casts doubt on my ability. Stop cutting the funding to public schools…and pretending like we don’t see you. Stop cheapening the work we do by paying us low salaries and cutting benefits. Just stop all that. Thanks.” -Tamara R. from Mrs. Russell’s Room
“We need more play! And DAP (Developmentally Appropriate Practice) public preschool available for all children. Also higher salaries for our ECE professionals.” -KT Russell
“Not only should teachers be paid more, but they should be treated as professionals. The professional teacher should be allowed to teach, and not be swamped with meaningless paperwork and frivolous requirements that do not help children. Teachers are often hindered from doing their jobs by a myriad of time consuming and needless tasks, when they need to be focused on the needs of the students in their care.” -Deborah H. from Happy Edugator
“Anyone writing curriculum must have an experienced classroom teacher “mentor” to bounce ideas off of (ie: will this really work in the classroom?) – and no one who has been out of the classroom more than five years should be writing curriculum – it should be required that they spend at least one grading period in the classroom AS THE TEACHER (not observing – they could fill long term sub needs) at some point during every five years of being a ‘curriculum specialist’.” -Alisa C. from First Grade Fun Times
“Teaching is a profession. The majority of the time, our occupation is looked as countless holidays and “just” spending time with children. We are preparing children for the future and the next generation is depending on what we teach them today.” -Brianna J.
“In some parts of the world, teachers are treated with respect like doctors and lawyers, and paid commensurate to them. I know we teachers in America deserve that too. That being said, our whole country, not just the president, needs to look at what kind of priority our citizens are placing on education. If people are not making their child’s education a priority, not coming to school events, not following along with their progress, seeing what their child’s homework is, modeling respect for teachers to their children, making sure their child’s schooling comes first and not screen time, or taking a day off to go to a movie, or lots of after school activities per week, then the state of education is not something that one single president can improve. It takes a village! And the village needs to prioritize schools, teachers, and children’s education!
Also, parents walk into our school and our classroom unannounced in the middle of day to tell us how to do our job. Do we show up at our lawyer’s office without an appointment, walk in when she is with another client or in the courtroom to tell her how to do her job, and/or that she is incompetent?” -Bex M. from Reading and Writing Redhead
“The value of a state-mandated test should not be higher than what classwork and creativity the teacher sees day to day from a student.
First and foremost, some students don’t test well! A test only shows one moment in time. What if during that “moment” the student is ill, dealing with family stress, or just over it?!? One photo in the photo album should not dictate a child’s achievement in the classroom.
Secondly, how many times in this world is a student going to be asked a question that only has one right answer or solution? Not as often as a student will need to answer a question with creative, outside the box thinking! Our world is not black and white… Our tests shouldn’t be either!” -Lyndsey S.
“We need parents to be a “partner” not a “opponent”. If students are to be successful..the “whole” team needs to participate. Parenting classes should be MANDATORY for struggling students families. Truancy “families” should be able to meet with “support judges” on SITE! If they can’t make it to school..they won’t make it to court! Kids lose. If you receive “support $$”…you should be able to “earn BONUS $$” if you work a certain number of hours per month at your child’s school ( or ANY school )…LOTS of “jobs” to do! We need to make education a PRIORITY..not a EXTRA.” -Wendy from 1st Grade Fireworks
“Early childhood education is so important to the development of the child. Preschool should be free and offered at every public school.” -Sarah C. from Kindergarten Smarts
“Dear candidates, Please come to my school and see the amazing work we do with these inner city kids who live in poverty and are new to our country. Come and spend a week and tell me we don’t deserve to be well paid. Come and spend a week and tell me why my students don’t have the same opportunities that other children have in their education and schools. Walk a day or a week in our shoes and tell me that these kids don’t deserve more and teachers don’t deserve to be respected. Let the teachers be in charge of doing what they do best and what they know is best for the kids. Don’t mandate extra paper work for us. Give us that time to prepare for and teach the kids in new and innovative ways. Give us the resources to teach these kids what they need to learn to become citizens that help our communities flourish and grow.” -Leah S.
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