Probably the most revealing insight on legislators' thinking when they voted for this garbage reform package came from one legislator who said he voted for the legislation because at least it was an attempt to do something about our failing education system. He claims he voted for the Governor's proposals because the teacher unions and the school boards had not offered any significant alternatives for reform. I would like to discuss with you why I think this reasoning is not only a weak cop-out for voting for the ALEC inspired destruction of education package, but mainly because it is totally wrong in its assumptions and remedies.
This is what I have to say to that legislator who felt he had to vote for something. First of all you should not have voted for laws that you did not have evidence would make any improvement. Second, you had no business blaming teachers for the effects of poverty on student performance. Our students who come to public school ready to learn are learning and teachers are already working as hard as possible to help bring up those who come to us with disadvantages. Finally, why don't you act to get the State Department to stop interfering with sound educational practices in locally run schools?
Also, the only choice courses that should be allowed are special vocational and career courses that are not now available because of lack of facilities or certified trainers in the public schools. Minimum hours of attendance for all choice courses should be required and the program regularly evaluated by evaluators outside the State Dept. of Education.
Finally, the first two years of the new value added teacher evaluation system should not count against any teacher. Outside experts should be asked to evaluate the consistency and validity of the new teacher evaluation system and after the second year of results, a complete review of the program should be made based on this independent evaluation.