Opinion

Legislative leadership failing us | Other Voices

In Bellevue, we continue to robustly support and invest in our schools. It only seems reasonable to expect that our state legislators do the same.

No educational bills Sen. Rodney Tom has sponsored will help children learn more or support teachers to serve students better. Instead, his educational policies use faulty measures as political weapons to decrease educational investment and destroy the faith we have in our schools and teachers.

His educational policies contradict findings in a preponderance of the peer-reviewed educational research. For example, research shows that the policy that links student test scores to teacher evaluation is unethical and inaccurate. Test scores don’t even come close to defining the totality of student learning in a given subject.

Yet, if Senator Tom succeeds in passing this policy, all our students will need to be tested in every grade, every class, every year, so that their teachers can be effectively evaluated. That includes kindergarten.

As a result, our children will be tested much more, the curriculum they are taught will be further narrowed and their education will become more sterile and more standardized, ironically resulting in less student learning over time.

Educational research tells us that these and other policies proposed by Senator Tom have not improved schools over time, leaving us to assume that he is either unconcerned with serious educational improvement or he lacks the ability to understand educational research.

If Senator Tom were really concerned about student learning and success he would sponsor bills that increase student learning and improve teaching. He would significantly increase the state’s investment in high quality teacher education in our local colleges and universities and in supporting teachers’ professional learning in schools.

He would invest in policies that give teachers more space and time during the school day to adapt curriculum and differentiate instruction to struggling students. He would increase the state’s investment in support staff like school counselors, para-educators, and ELL support staff to better serve the needs of a diversity of students. Lastly but most importantly, he would have done something, anything, to alleviate inequity and childhood poverty in our communities.

He has done none of the above.

 

 

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