Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from retired teacher and former MSTA member, Pam Rowland. She testified at the State Board of Education meeting after MSTA President, Tonni Schmidt.
This was my first experience with a public hearing, so it was definitely interesting. What did I think?
- I guess they want to hear from “experts”, but in my opinion, we needed to hear from more ordinary citizens and teachers. I know it is the role of Presidents and Executive Directors of organizations to represent in this way, but some of their testimony was very dry and hard to pay attention to. MSTA’s President was definitely the exception. She did an excellent job and said first and foremost that she was a classroom teacher. To me, that says “expert” more than the people who have a bunch of degrees, plus they have the passion for what they are saying.
- There were a couple of people who had an obvious agenda that came off as a little “out there” because they didn’t get to the exact point.
- I was so glad to see some high school students there, and they did a good job, but their testimony was basically voicing their opinions against their Common Core assignments and not on the topic of qualifications needed for a Commissioner. I felt bad for them and wished someone had steered them in a different direction.
- My favorite speaker was the parent from Bolivar who took 30 seconds to say that they needed to remember it is the children they are serving. Short and sweet and absolutely correct!
- The board had the opportunity to ask each speaker questions and I was very disturbed that really the only question asked was to the charter school guy.
Overall, I found it to be a good experience and it was worth the 9-hour drive to talk for 3 minutes. I hope to do it again sometime. If you’re going to complain about something (and I’ve been doing a LOT of complaining since they fired Margie), then you need to talk to people who can actually do something about your issue. Will they take what I said into consideration? Who knows, but I am glad I tried.
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