Dear Governor Walker,
We are writing this letter to propose a change in the way that educational decisions are made in Wisconsin. As students at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls and as future educators, we are saddened by recent decisions that have been made in education. Also as future graduates of a Wisconsin University and as future educators, we feel our voices should be heard. Specifically, we would like to propose that the elected body of a committee on education be required to have a minimum of one year of educational experience. Individuals that have experience teaching and working in the education field have the knowledge necessary to make well-informed decisions directly impacting education.
One decision that has recently impacted public education is budget cuts. These budget cuts have resulted in fewer classroom resources, a decline in specials (e.g., music, physical education, and art) and an increase in the student-teacher ratio. The lack of state-funded monetary support has put school officials in a difficult position when making staffing decisions. The impact of the decisions made at the state level impact the school environment and students’ ability to learn. The repercussions of these budget cuts could be lessened if there were individuals with educational experience involved in the decision making process. Their knowledge of the school and classroom environment would bring a personal connection to their decision about and advocacy for of public education.
Another issue that we have faced in public education is the increase in state academic standards. These standards have placed an alarming amount of importance on student performance. In turn, this leads to increased teacher and student stress as well as an over-emphasis on meeting state standards, which overshadows student learning. Students’ genuine curiosity and desire to learn is being sidelined in order to get through the required content. Having individuals with educational experience would provide background knowledge about authentic learning. Using their experience they could predict the possible effects of proposed standards on future students. Their knowledge and understanding of students’ learning would be a valuable addition to any decision-making body.
These issues have a direct impact on us as future educators. As teachers, our focus is always on our students. These decisions are hindering their achievement by overemphasizing accountability in place of trusting teachers. We want to see a change in how these decisions are made in order to promote student achievement and school success by putting individuals with educational experience in a position where they can impact decisions.
Thank you for your time and we hope you consider these trying issues that are facing Wisconsin’s education system. If you would like to contact us to further discuss the issues addressed in this letter, please contact Hannah Klingfus by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
University of Wisconsin-River Falls Students Vying for a Change