Teachers’ Advice for President Obama in His Second Term

Teachers’ Advice for President Obama in His Second Term President Obama's administration, which has had a sometimes-strained relationship with teachers, will face a host of K-12 education priorities in his second term of office. Those include issues surrounding the Race to the Top program, NCLB progress waivers and possible reauthorization, education funding, and teacher-recruitment programs.

Imagine you had a chance to sit down with the president to talk about education. What experiences would you share? What advice would you give him on improving conditions for teaching and learning in today's schools? Should the president attempt to improve his administration's rapport with teachers? In your view, what could he do in his second term to leave a positive legacy for the teaching profession of the future?

Follow-Up: Involve School Communities in Ed. Policy

I get that people want results, but we can't even talk about results without talking about schools becoming more humane places.

Follow-Up: Improving Schools by Building Strong Communities

Ryan Kinser I promised concrete steps for the president's second-term education agenda in my first post, confident that my classroom experiences with both high-needs and affluent students make for a unique vantage point. But I realized I need to answer a big question first. What role should the federal government play in education? According to the Department of Education itself, the answer is, as "a kind of 'emergency response system,' a means of filling gaps in State and local support for education when critical national needs arise." By that rationale, I don't think standardized testing, arbitrary accountability systems, and ...

Follow-Up: Lesson-Plan Revisions for Obama

Bill Farmer I am always encouraged by the insightful discourse that transpires between educators in forums such as this. It is evident that we approach these conversations by prioritizing the needs and interests of our students. Since entering the profession nearly 10 years ago, I have yet to experience a federal education policy that has enabled me to better meet my students' learning needs. In fact, it has been my general experience that the impacts that eventually trickle down to the classroom usually inhibit my ability to effectively do my job. If improving student outcomes is the primary objective, this ...

Follow-Up: Partnering Up on Education Policy

Sarah Henchey In my previous post, I encouraged President Obama to articulate the purpose of education within our society and evaluate his administration's policies based on this understanding. I also called upon my fellow educators to consider how they would scaffold and support the president's learning. However, it is not enough for only our leaders to participate in this inquiry—we must all explore this essential question. Just as the classroom stretches beyond a school's walls, learning extends far past a formal education. Presidents, policymakers, and the public must come together to address the realities of our current system and ...

Follow-Up: Facts Don't Support Federal Involvement in Schools

Matthew Holland Whenever there is a call for the federal government to move out of the sphere of education, there is undoubtedly some level of resistance. Often those who are resistant to dismantling the U.S. Department of Education focus on two main areas: funding and discrimination. They tend to say that the federal education oversight is needed to ensure adequate money is directed towards education and to safeguard against institutional discrimination within our educational system. They often say, "Without the Department of Education, our children would suffer." While their arguments sound good, they are not supported by the facts. ...

Mr. Obama, Let's Work On Teacher Working Conditions

José Vilson Dear Mr. President, During the presidential debates between you and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, you mentioned that you'd hire thousands more math and science teachers to boost this country's status as an economic power. Jennifer Martinez reported on your statement in The Hill newspaper: "If we've got math teachers who are able to provide the kind of support that they need for our kids, that's what's going to determine whether or not new businesses are created here," Obama said during the debate at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla. "Companies are going to locate here depending on ...

A Lesson Plan for Education Reform

Bill Farmer President Obama, during your victory speech on election night you proudly stated that "We want our kids to grow up in a country where they have access to the best schools and the best teachers." You probably didn't hear my enthusiastic cheers from the far end of the convention hall, but I was there celebrating your reelection with several fellow Educators for Obama who share your passionate vision for an excellent public education system for all students. As you transition into your second term, I would encourage you to engage in a reflective practice that mirrors what teachers ...

Inquiry-Based Learning for the President

Sarah Henchey "Education is not a problem. Education is an opportunity." — Lyndon B. Johnson Essential Question: What role does education serve in our society? Learning Task: Learners will utilize their understanding of the federal government's role in education in order to propose policy recommendations that support the role of education in our society and learning of the American people. Imagine you've been challenged to explore the above essential question through the described learning task. How would you approach this charge? What core understandings would support your success? What resources would you turn to for guidance? Learning opportunities such as this...

Mr. President, Can We Repay Our 'Educational Debt'?

Ryan Kinser In his first term, President Obama treated education issues like symptoms of an undiagnosed disease. His administration led our nation through initiatives to overhaul teacher evaluation, introduce new state standards to promote college/career readiness, and offer competitive funding opportunities for states to innovate. Each of these reforms was a Band-Aid approach that overlooked a fundamental issue: schools fail when communities fail. Our top students are still receiving an education on par with any in the world. It's just that not enough of our students have that opportunity. Perhaps the bubbling cauldron of recent education issues can be ...

Note to POTUS: Stop the Numbers Game in School Reform

Matthew Holland With all due respect, the president should get out of the education business. Period. Let the profession be run by the professionals who work in our nation's classrooms. Over the past 11 years, we have seen policies come out of Washington that seek to improve our nation's education through a game of numbers. The policies under President Bush had our nation's schools chasing ever elusive number in math and reading. We see the same with President Obama's policies on education. Now the ever elusive numbers game is spreading into more subject areas while children continue to be viewed ...

The opinions expressed in Teaching Ahead: A Roundtable are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.

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