(This letter was read to JCPS Board Members by a student on Dec. 14, 2015 as part of the anonymous letter presentation.)
I am a JCPS student. I am here tonight to share with you a message from DearJCPS members. Teacher voice and choice is critical to their morale and effectiveness as educators. Their effectiveness as educators directly impacts student learning.
Recently, there has been a high number of substitutes at my school. These substitutes aren’t just for one day or even one week. Most of them are there for three months or more. For example, last week in my math class I was able to finally have a permanent teacher although it was already the middle of the second trimester. Between the time that school first started and last week, I have had not even a proper substitute but a volunteer as a teacher. Now, you may ask, “how does this affect my learning?” Well, when the new teacher came in he did not know where we left off at so he jumped into something that my classmates and I have never heard of before. To put it all into perspective for you, it would be like jumping into long division when you never learned basic division in the first place. This has made it extremely hard for my fellow classmates and I to be able to get to the point where the state wants us to be. There is so much talk about ‘closing the gap’ but how shall we do that if we aren’t even able to have the proper teaching that we need and deserve?
When teachers have voice and choice, they have the power to make the best decision for teaching the students in their classes. Teachers morale will increase and they will stay in positions and hopefully other students will not have to experience what I have this year. We need our teachers to stay in the classroom. We cannot learn everything we need to learn without them. We need JCPS to empower our teachers and allow them to focus on teaching us; not on paperwork that takes time away from our learning.
I hope that you take the time to read the letters that address teacher voice and choice. Please listen to the experiences and the suggestions, because our futures literally depend on it. Thank you.