Monday, November 19, 2012

More on REPA2

Some letters are already being written to the state board members about these changes in teacher licensing.  Read this lovely letter by Donovan Walling:

Dear Board Members,

As a parent, grandparent, and longtime education professional—teacher, administrator, teacher educator, education publisher—I urge you to think carefully about the future education of Indiana children and do not support REPA 2.

REPA 2 devalues professional education and will result in less effective teaching. Imagine qualifying a doctor or a dentist on the basis of any sort of college degree and the passing of a test. Would you really have much confidence in their professional expertise? The myth of education is that “anyone can teach.” But that’s exactly what it is: a myth. Step into a real classroom, a real teacher’s shoes, and try doing what real teachers do day in and day out.

I don’t want my business-degreed neighbor, on the basis of a test, doing a root canal or an appendectomy on me or my children or anyone else’s children. And I don’t want unqualified teachers under REPA 2 muddling around in classrooms for the same reason. Do you?

REPA 2 arises from a philosophy that treats children as commodities and schools as factories where cheap labor rules the day—cheap labor producing cheap goods. Well, children aren’t commodities. They are persons, not products. Therefore, I urge you to treat our children like the valued individuals they are. Do not support REPA 2.

Donovan R. Walling
Bloomington, Indiana

And this is a moving letter from a mother, Shelly Scott-Harmon:

Dear Board Members,

I write to you today for the first time in my life out of fear. I have heard much from a variety of perspectives regarding REPA 2 and have researched it thoroughly myself. I can only conclude that the changes it seeks are based upon an utter lack of concern for the education of our young citizens. This scares me.
I grew up in an impoverished area of Kentucky, a state that always ranked among the lowest in our nation for education. Even so, I went to public schools, and I benefitted from teachers who cared deeply about their commitment to shaping young minds. I learned how to be a good student and a decent citizen. From those public schools, I earned four degrees in higher education and am proud of my accomplishments.

I always knew I wanted my own children to attend public schools and reap the benefits that I did: learning how to learn among a diverse group of children in a setting filled with educators looking for ways to enrich children’s experiences even with limited resources. My husband and I made a conscious decision to move to Indiana and bought our first home based almost solely on school district because we felt these choices would serve our children well. We have been satisfied with our decision thus far.

REPA 2 would change that for us, and that is what scares me. I have one child in his first year in the public school system. He is gifted, yet his teacher is making sure he is challenged every day, meeting him where he is and setting him up to rise even higher. I have another child in his fifth year in a public school. He has special needs and an IEP. It has been a challenge, but his teachers have been willing to collaborate with me on ways to make his journey through public education as close to typical as possible. So far, so good.

I have always felt comfortable sending my kids to public schools. If REPA 2 is accepted, that comfort will be diminished. I have no faith at all that a person who earns an irrelevant degree and passes a test could even handle, let alone effectively teach, either of my children. To think that I could study a bit, take a test, and then apply for a job in the public schools because I have a degree is appalling. I am a parent, a hard worker, a conscientious person, a compassionate soul, and a college instructor, but none of that qualifies me to be a public school teacher.

Please show due respect to our children who need your best judgment and our teachers who go to work in good faith each day and reject REPA 2.

Shelly Scott-Harmon, Ph.D.

Please consider writing yours today!  We need to keep up the pressure.  See my previous post for a link to the state board members' contact information (remember to scroll down a little on that idoe page) and if you are really on a roll, submit your letter to newspapers around the state.  It is through the media and social media that we can get things done and get the word out!

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