“During a time when 10% of the population is unemployed” began Chris Voisard, “I’ve decided to quit my job.”
I was listening to a personal commentary on NPR a couple of days ago. Chris, a school teacher in the public school system, went on to say that she left a good salary, good benefits, and job security. And why? Because the system she worked for no longer allowed her the freedom to teach her students to think critically, to grow and build their conceptual and problem-solving skills. Instead, the system she worked for, guided by the No Child Left Behind Act was focused on students achieving appropriate test scores. She told the listeners that when she trained to get her teaching credentials, her instructor counseled the new teachers never to teach to the test, rather they should teach the students the material and let the test indicate their proficiency. But now with so much tied to test scores, teachers were expected to guide students through rote memorization of what would be presented on the test so that they could accurately regurgitate it back to pass the exam.
When this teacher reached out to the superintendent to ask about ways to get away from rote memorization of test material and back to teaching thinking skills, the superintendent labeled her as “one of those ‘creative’ types” and further indicated she would have suffered had she worked in the school where he was the principal.
Following that discussion, Chris had the ethics and drive to leave her secure, well-paying job, to take a lower-paying job in a charter school so she could positively impacts the lives of her students.
My hat is off to Chris and those like her who feel there is value in teaching our children to think, and to help them build the communication and problem-solving skills that will prepare them to adapt, and respond to life’s problems in productive ways that enable them to be contributing members of society.
We have enough of the entitled, the unwilling, and the incapable. Let’s enable more of the prepared, thinking, and adaptive.