In the long narrative of a school year, as teachers and students learn together, external events continue to make the work all the more challenging. From a Secretary of Education that proudly proclaims there’s no such thing as a “free lunch,” to a governor that has put days of tourism before days at school, the storm clouds threaten the students entrusted to our care in public education.
Make no mistake, the complexity of the teacher’s work is directly tied to the stress a community feels, and the needs of its children. And with each passing month, the amount of time required to plan and execute and reflect upon teaching and learning grows. It grows at an exponential rate, and is breaking the backbone of the one institution that holds us together as a country — public education.
That’s why the action taken by our Board of Education Monday night adds to the storm on the horizon of the profession we love so dearly. For in reducing the amount of time teachers have for planning and grading and preparing within the school year, we reduce our readiness to meet the needs of all our young scholars. The calendar this year was made increasingly complex by the governor’s executive order, and the result of that order now manifests itself in a very real way on those of us who care for children. This morning, 13,000 teachers continue the journey with children this school year, but they do so knowing that time is a diminishing resource. That’s demoralizing, and should be of concern to our community.