Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Make Schools Stronger ...

This article was published in the Greensboro News & Record COUNTERPOINT on March 24, 2007

Ways we can make our schools stronger BY LONNIE H. BAXLEY JR.

Quality comes from ownership with integrity and appropriate resources in a healthy paradigm.

It was interesting to reflect upon this in light of the Teacher Working Conditions Community Forum held at GTCC Jamestown on March 18, 2007. Guilford Education Alliance (http://www.guilfordeducationalliance.org/) sponsored this forum, which included participation from teachers, parents, community members and the Guilford County school board. [Report published April 2009]

Two things bubbled up in my mind from the discussion that appear to be essential ingredients for improved quality in our schools. First is time for teacher planning; time is an important resource and lack of it results in reduced quality and teachers becoming frustrated and unable to be adequately pre­pared to teach the students.

Second, "school improvement teams," when appropriately implemented, can address improving the health of the paradigm. Where can the public help in improving teacher working conditions? Among the ideas suggested at the forum were volunteers in schools, relieving teachers from menial tasks such as copying, etc.

Also, school improvement teams that help identify and resolve issues in a cooperative spirit make for a healthier paradigm for teachers and, therefore, a healthier learning environment for students.

These factors would support improving the rigor, relevance and relationships that are cited by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation as important to education.

The public can get involved by getting to know its schools and teachers, volunteering in a way that frees teachers to better plan, and understanding issues that affect the learning environment and holding those responsible accountable for improvement.

We are blessed to have Dr. Margaret Arbuckle and her staff as advocates for our schools in Guilford County. The best investment is in the next generation!

The writer lives in Greensboro.

1 comment:

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