I found a well-used tote bag yesterday, given to my husband at work.
It made me think about what is going on in our school system right now. As I have said before, it is not about the money. Or, if you will, it's not only about the money. We all need to be fairly compensated for what we do, so it is silly to ignore that. But the heart of the matter is not the amount of an increase in wages or the number of years in a contract.
It is about appreciation. Appreciation that means something. Placing a value on teachers which is shown through actions: sincere negotiation. Truly including teachers as valued stakeholders in program changes. If teachers go to work in the morning and come home at the end of the day feeling supported and respected by our school system, from the top down, we have succeeded.
If they do not, we have failed.
Why? Because they are actually performing the task that the whole system is set up to achieve. They hold our children, and their futures, in their hands. Every day.
Our culture used to value teachers. Now that big companies peddle standardized tests, and new curriculum changes require the purchase of all new textbooks, and private industry markets entire schools at the expense of our public school systems--the teacher has become nothing but a cog in a machine. You don't value a cog. You don't negotiate with a cog. It is merely there to perform a function, to do the bidding of the one who runs the machine.
Is that what we want for our students in Howard County? We entrust what is most precious to us to our teachers. Should we not truly value their work? Take a moment today to think about how we, in Howard County, can show meaningful appreciation for our teachers.