(Oct. 6, 2016) Neighborhood schools near you will feature Walk-ins for Public Education Oct. 6 with parents, community members, educators and students joining to celebrate our schools. Events will highlight the opportunity to improve education through the new federal law, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).
Parents, community members, educators and students will gather 15 minutes before school starts for comments from local leaders about the importance of strong public schools in our communities. Then educators and students will walk in to school together in time for classes to begin.
The events across Ohio are part of a national day of action with similar Walk-ins for Public Education being held at schools from coast to coast.
The events will take on a celebratory tone to show support for our schools while acknowledging that there are changes that would significantly improve public education. ESSA allows states and districts to make the kinds of changes that would significantly improve education.
Additional schools across Ohio that were not able to plan walk-ins will participate in the day of action with teachers wearing school colors, sending postcards to legislators about improving education via ESSA, using #morethanatestscore on social media to demonstrate the need to change the testing culture, and signing on to the Principles that Unite Us.
ESSA provides Ohio an opportunity to reject the failed strategies of the past by making changes to improve education. Teachers, parents and community leaders must be included in the process of setting education policies focused on meeting all needs of every child and ending the culture of excessive testing.
"ESSA is perhaps the greatest opportunity of our lifetimes to influence how education is improved. ESSA relies on input from educators, parents and community members interested in improving education for our children," said Melissa Cropper, president of the Ohio Federation of Teachers. "ESSA is a step forward for education - one that puts our children first and provides teachers the support they need to be successful."
ESSA must truly be a reset of education policies, not a repeat of failed ones. This reset must address that teachers, students and parents have lost trust in the current system, for good reason. A redefinition must focus on creating a system where students want to learn, teachers want to work and are recognized as the instructional leaders, parents are enthusiastic about sending their children and of which the community is proud.
One key element in making this reset a reality is an end to the culture of excessive testing. Standardized testing punishes students and teachers and is intimidating and threatening. Testing should inform instruction to help teachers meet student needs and help students improve academically.
"The Every Student Succeeds Act is our opportunity to improve education for our children. These walk-ins demonstrate what we can do together," Cropper said. "Together, parents, community members, educators and students can stand up for change."
For more information about ESSA and the opportunities to improve public education, visit www.ESSAopportunity.org.