When budgets are “made” by lawmakers in North Carolina, there are usually multiple requests for monies attached to “reforms” or investments in resources. Some deal with mentoring and helping younger teachers become more acclimated to the education profession. Some deal with “advanced roles” for teachers. Some deal with curricula that focus on specific “21st century” skills.
That’s how we get lots of iPads and iStation and glossy proctor guides as well.
These requests along with other initiatives (most actually being counterproductive) that call for more teacher roles, collaboration, extension of personalized learning, and even “deputizing” teachers has ignored the very resource ultimately needed to even begin allowing for teachers to really help students: time.
It is one of the single biggest deficits in the teaching profession.
The day only has 24 hours. The year is still 365 (+1/4) days long. School still has to meet the equivalent of 180 school days.
Caps on class sizes have been removed. Funding to alleviate class sizes in early grades was never extended to LEA’s as was erroneously claimed by many a GOP lawmaker in the last couple of years. Students also take more standardized tests than ever before and more schools have turned to block scheduling meaning that more teachers are teaching more classes and more students.
Any veteran teacher can tell you the need for collaboration with others is critical to academic success for students. The need to plan and create/grade authentic assessments is also most critical.
That requires time. And there is nothing in Mark Johnson’s budget proposals or an NCGA proposal that helps to address the “time” shortage.
Please remember that in most public schools, there are important duties that must be fulfilled by teachers that may not be considered academic in nature or part of the classroom experience: supervision, committees, coaching, sponsoring of clubs, etc.
Then there is the grading.
All of that requires time. And while one cannot buy extra time to add to a day, there is a lot of truth in the cliche’ “Time is money.” That means that Mark Johnson and the NCGA can make more investments in public education that remove obstacles and current constructs to give more teachers time to truly and fully work on those very facets to teaching that so affect school/student growth.
Imagine what benefits could be reaped if teachers had the time to collaborate, tutor, plan, and assess a more varied sampling of student work.
And it would be easy for Johnson and the NCGA to help that become a reality if they would just seek to fully fund schools and listen to teachers about what really needs to be done in schools.