This is an open letter to Florida’s Senators, Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio, as well as other political representatives. With the election season as it played out from the very beginning, I’d long come to a to terms accepting the outcome for whatever it ended up being regardless of my own voting preferences. But now with the pending appointment as the Secretary of Education being who it is, it is time to step up and give voice to something that we can more readily control.
This is an URGENT message requesting you to VOTE NO in approving Betsy DeVos as the new Secretary of Education. This billionaire woman has NO experience anywhere as an educator and is not a supporter of public education.
Her position in pushing voucher programs and making school’s more competitive is not the next wave in education reform. While the education system is still not perfect, it is MUCH better than it used to be. Have you considered that maybe it’s no longer teacher training and school improvement that needs to change? Well, voucher programs that “make schools more competitive” is not the solution to nation’s educational concerns because teachers are working their butts off and even spending their own money to ensure each child gets what they need to be successful. Schools are making vast improvements with the limited resources they have, as well. No tangible results would be seen from competition because there are other dire factors that are involved in how we experience new things and in our ability to take in new information.
Instead, the next wave of education reform needs to be focused social reform. Teachers can work as hard as they can and schools can provide free/reduced lunch, but that doesn’t solve the problem that kiddos are not getting basic survival necessities AT HOME. If kids have to worry about taking taking care of their siblings until mom or dad get home at 6 or 7 pm, then that leaves little time for them to clean themselves and finish their own homework before bed time. Let’s also talk about those same students not having access to wi-fi/computers to finish said homework because mom and dad’s 2-3 jobs barely cover the cost of ensuring a roof over their heads. And, by the way, that roof (in districts such as Osceola and Orange Counties) is often that of an extended stay hotel. There are schools, including my own, that are actually nicknamed “the hotel school” because many students (large) families live in such facilities that line corridors like State Road 192.
Many people will argue that it’s up to the teachers to overcome such student adversities. Well, teachers can only do so much! And they already work their tails off to the point of exhaustion. Well, when students are having to worry about concerns like those mentioned above, a teacher can plan the BEST and MOST engaging lesson on the planet but if students’ heads are not in the right place because they have other responsibilities and/or lack the time/resources to do what they need to for school THEN, of course, they will be disengaged. It’s called Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, and all psychologists AND teachers are more than familiar with it. People can’t concentrate on the next step unless their most basic needs are met first. As a teacher who’s worked in and networked with several different districts before, I KNOW teachers are brilliant and creative and doing the best they can, but they need help. Families need help. And that’s why the next step in education reform MUST be social reform. This is truly an urgent matter, and we need someone in leadership that truly understands and gets it. However, Besty DeVos is NOT that person.