Thanks so much for your message. First, let me say, I hear you! I sympathize with your frustration and am deeply saddened that we find ourselves in a state where teachers are demoralized and feeling demeaned. Your third paragraph pretty much says it all. And I hear the same thing from many others like you.
I’m committed to changing these perceptions. It starts with my own personal beliefs – that teachers are our most valuable educational asset; that they love and care deeply for the students we place in their classrooms each day; that they are professionals who come to class ready to do their best; that they continually are on the lookout for ways to improve their instruction and student outcomes; and that they have what it takes to make Ohio’s education system the best in the nation. Those of us at the state level should make it our goal to create the conditions needed for teachers to be as effective as they can be. Teaching should be an inspiring and joyful job.
Of course, it’s easy to say words that sound good, but I know you and others want action. I’m working with my staff to identify specific things we can do. One thing I clearly understand is the desire for stability in state policy. Many people are asking us to simply stop changing things. No one is opposed to high expectations, but we need to stick with something for an extended time so we can allow progress to be made. I will do all I can to support this.
I also hear your points about testing. While I believe that state testing is important, I also believe that we need to keep the results of testing in perspective.
Knowing that people like you are out there fuels my continued excitement. I hope I can live up to your expectation to “defend us, encourage us, lead us, advocate for us.” I certainly will try. I hope you continue to do the great things you do for your students – ultimately that’s what matters most.
I wish you a very successful 2016-2017 school year.
Superintendent of Public Instruction