Sunday, May 1, 2011

May 1 Guest: Verna M. Chase

According to the U. S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, there were 99,000 K-12 public schools across 13,800 school districts in the 2008-2009 school year.

More than 49 million children attend public schools in the United States. That's 9 in every 10 U.S. students in grades kindergarten through 12 (K-12). In contrast, about 5.8 million U.S. students are enrolled in K-12 private schools.

The National Center for Education Statistics projects that enrollment in K-12 public schools will rise to 53.3 million by 2016.

One of the important characteristics of the public schools is that they are accountable to the public. Like most organizations that receive funding from outside sources, public schools are directly accountable to the people who provide them with the money they need to operate -the public.

Public schools depend on public funding and therefore are directly accountable to the public. This means that schools have a responsibility to inform parents and the community about how students are performing, and provide the community with opportunities to engage and provide input.

As a taxpayer, it is your right to ensure that your tax dollars are being spent wisely, and demanding that all kids have quality schools is one way to do that. Unfortunately, teachers and teaching have been the subject of unrelenting criticism over the past years. I believe we fail to recognize the increasing complexity and responsibility of education our children and youth.

The landscape of the classroom of the 21st century is so different than the past. It is not difficult to understand why school teachers and administrators are susceptible to stress and burnout. This is not a simple problem. Much of the criticism I believe borders on ‘victim blaming’.

Stress and burnout are so prevalent that they have an enormous detrimental effect on the teaching -learning process. Even the most talented and committed teacher or administrator may grow disillusioned and perform far below their maximum potential.

As a society we undervalue teaching as a profession. What have you done lately to support and recognize the contributions teachers make in your community?

Tune in to to hear a discussion of the issue and solutions from the May 1st show with our guest, Verna Chase, author of upcoming book for teachers.

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