US National Teacher of the Year: “The revolution begins with us”

Calls for education reform in the U.S. have seemed to pit teachers against policy experts, legislators, and commentators. This false opposition glosses over the really difficult issues that need to be addressed to reform the U.S. education system, such as how to improve parental involvement and community support for local education; how to fairly and most effectively distribute economic resources for education;  and how to ensure students are learning critically and creatively in a system that supports their whole welfare. Systemic issues need to be addressed with less blaming and more generosity, with less entrenchment and greater openness to change. All sites within the system should be embraced as potential sites for positive transformation. — Kelly Searsmith

by Donna Krache and Jamie Gumbrecht / CNN/ 5 July 2012

The United States is obsessed with high-stakes testing that doesn’t show whether teachers are masterful and students are knowledgeable, National Teacher of Year Rebecca Mieliwocki said to nearly 8,000 of her colleaguesat the National Education Association annual meeting Thursday.

“When we help a child reach proficiency at any grade level, we have changed the quality of that child’s life and that community forever,” she said. “But aiming for proficiency means we aim to create generations of children who are average.”

Instead, she said “people who haven’t set foot in a classroom” should not be making decisions and policies about teaching, and teachers should be aiming to take all students – whether hungry, homeless, in the midst of their first crush or celebrating the big game – beyond the test.

“We have got to stop talking about testing and start talking more about developing, supporting and celebrating teachers,” she said. “Teachers are the architects of the change we’ve been waiting for. We’ve forgotten what a teacher can do that a standardized test can’t.”

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