State Lawmakers Get A Lesson In Reform From Teachers
by Aundrea Cline-Thomas
SMYRNA, Tenn. - Ms. Rogers' 4th graders at David Youree Elementary got extra help with equivalent fractions from State Senator Jim Tracy Thursday.
"I think they need to see more of what teachers go through on a day-to-day basis," Mary Ann Rogers said.
For some educators the distance between Capitol Hill and the classroom can seem endless.
"I have been up to the hill a couple of times to talk to various legislators," Rutherford Education Association President Emily Mitchell said. "What I have to express is so much that you cannot do it in an office in a nice leather chair. It's just not possible."
That's why the Rutherford Education Association is inviting lawmakers onto their turf to show them the nuances of reform that never make it into the debate.
"What I'm teaching in 4th grade, I remember having in 7th grade," Rogers explained. "You don't get to go to the restroom when you want to. You get about fifteen minutes to eat lunch every day. You get maybe a 20/25 minute planning time."
Even Representative Dawn White realizes things have changed in the years since she was a teacher.
"There are ways we can always improve," White said, "and I think we'll look at those this session as well."
This visit isn't about one specific issue. It's about fostering a better sense of collaboration.
"People who do the jobs are the experts," Mitchell said. "It seems like there's not a whole lot of input the way that we see things as for going to the state actually hearing our concerns is not being done."
So the next time when considering an issue that will affect teachers, they want to be asked about it, or at least have lawmakers use this experience to inform their decision.