Apr 02

A Plea for Education

As the Washington State Legislature continues to meet to decide the fate of our state many educators are writing emails and making phone calls urging legislators to make the best decisions for our kids. Maren Johnson, a high school Science teacher in my district, has been taking the lead in communicating with our legislature to help them make decisions that are in the best interest of our children. Maren testified against an end of course, high stakes Biology test that would force high schools to teach mainly biology and Maren is the biology and AP biology teacher in the high school! She clearly cares about what is best for kids. Maren blogs at the Big Rock Blog and can be followed on Twitter.

Urging the rest of us to write our legislators Maren has helped us stay on top of what our state is doing because laws are being written and laws are being considered that would decide how our new teacher evaluation plan is going to be implemented, laws that would add charter schools to our state, laws that would take away our choices with regard to health insurance, as well as more cuts to education, which would, among other things, cut National Board certification pay and increase class sizes.

By continuing to write and call our legislators we are standing unified in what we believe will best help our children and what will best support education. So Maren wrote another letter to one of our state senators and this time instead of having us do the same she had National Board Certified Teachers in our legislative district sign on to the one letter. So one letter was sent that was 38 strong with many signatures.

Letter that was sent to Washington State Senator:

Dear Senator Hargrove,

We, National Board Certified Teachers in the 24th Legislative district, would like to thank you again for your support of high quality teaching and learning in our state.  We truly appreciate your sponsorship of an amendment to support the National Board program, and your willingness to stand up and speak so powerfully for accomplished teaching on the Senate floor on the night of March 2.

We have worked hard in our classrooms to create innovative educational opportunities and to improve conditions for student learning.  Now we are asking you to stand with us against the aspects of the latest Senate Republican budget proposal that are so harmful to education in our state.  Specifically, we are asking you to:

Oppose charter schools which divert money from existing public schools.  We need to provide an outstanding education to every student in our state, not just those students who might attend a charter school.

Oppose 6442.  This change to educational employee health insurance would cost taxpayers $45 million and eliminate private sector competition.  It would reduce benefits while costing employees more.

Support smaller class sizes for our students!  The Senate Republican budget does nothing to restore funding for smaller class sizes.  Individual attention from a teacher is so important for the learning of so many our students, and this simply doesn’t happen in large classes.

Thank you for your support!

Sincerely,

38 National Board Certified Teachers of the 24th Legislative District

Maren Johnson, NBCT, Chimacum
Brian Berg, NBCT, Sequim
Patti Smith, NBCT, Chimacum
John Henry, NBCT, Port Angeles
Paul Zurybida, NBCT, Hoquiam
Al Gonzalez, NBCT, Chimacum
Tom Gambill, NBCT, Port Townsend
Maria Kays, NBCT, Port Angeles
Tricia Billes, NBCT, Sequim
Gretchen Ray, NBCT, Montesano
Lois Sherwood, NBCT, Port Townsend
Ione Marcy, NBCT, Sequim
Jolene Powell, NBCT, Aberdeen
Laurie Day, NBCT, Port Angeles
Jennifer Van De Wege, NBCT, Sequim
Renee Mullikin, NBCT, Sequim
Leslie Shively, NBCT, Port Townsend
Suzanne Duscha, NBCT, Chimacum
Debbie Erickson, NBCT, Port Angeles
Lisa Deen, NBCT, Port Townsend
Becky Stanton, NBCT, Sequim
Mimi Tiderman, NBCT, Port Angeles
Mandy Biggs, NBCT, McCleary
Shannon Lowrie, NBCT, Chimacum
Jennifer Stankus, NBCT, Port Townsend
Denise Williamson, NBCT, Quilcene
Stuart Marcy, NBCT, Sequim
Peter Braden, NBCT, Port Townsend
Jim Weller, NBCT, Quilcene
Stacy Swinhart, NBCT, Montesano
Jeff Youde, NBCT, Quilcene
Charles Kleinberg, NBCT, Sequim
Dorothy Stengel, NBCT, Port Townsend
Chelsea Reichner, NBCT, Sequim
Karen Brown, NBCT, Aberdeen
Laura Gould, NBCT, Sequim
Diane Frame, NBCT, Port Townsend
Christy Ditlefsen, NBCT, Sequim

We are fighting for a strong public education here in Washington by asking that our legislature fully fund education. We also will continue to impress upon our legislature the importance of using alternative methods to evaluate teachers, principals and students. This includes NOT using a one-day-a-year, standardized, mostly-multiple-choice test scores to determine what our students know or are learning, and NOT using those test scores to determine if a teacher or a principal or a school is educating our youth.  So I’m publishing Maren’s letter here in case it will help anyone else to reach out to those who are entrusted with deciding what is best for education.

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1 comment

1 ping

    • maren_johnson on April 2, 2012 at 5:49 pm

    Hi Al,
    Thanks for helping to spread the word about these issues!

  1. […] Not content to lobby only for National Board Certification, 24th Legislative District NBCTs got involved in advocacy for health insurance, high stakes assessment, charter schools, and teacher evaluation.  38 of us signed a group letter to Senator Jim Hargrove asking him to oppose the Senate Republican Budget, which was so harmful to education in so many ways.  NBCT Al Gonzalez even posted about this group letter on his blog. […]

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