One of the major problems with our American educational system is that its fate lies with politicians who have no educational background. As a former teacher, and someone who still works in the field, I am putting forth my thoughts to serve as an impetus for public discussion. Teacher, parent, and student input is especially important as we, as a community, endeavor to put together an educational plan that addresses the learning needs of each child.
Here are a few things that can help us stay on the track to accreditation:
1. Funding to hire more teachers.
The way we taught 30 years ago was much different than today. It was easier for teachers to manage 25-30 kids because kids worked from textbooks and workbooks. Today we’ve found the most effective way of teaching is to actually engage students in the learning process through hands-on activities and small group work. To effectively teach this way requires a lower teacher/student ratio.
The majority of St. Louis Public School District’s funding comes from the personal property tax. TIF (tax increment financing) has a negative impact on our public school funding. Therefore, every time we award TIF to a new developer, we essentially take money away from our public schools. We, as political leaders, need to use more caution when awarding TIF to ensure the money is being used as intended, in a manner that actually stimulates growth in blighted areas.
2. Funding for technology in the classroom.
In order to prepare our kids for the future schools need to have up to date technology and computer programs.
3. More support for teachers.
Currently new teachers are required to have a mentor to lead them through their first years of teaching, however it is not enforced at all schools. We need to provide support and guidance to beginning teachers so they can succeed. We also need to make sure that seasoned teachers have up to date training and have the support of their community and administration.
4. More parental involvement.
Many schools struggle to find ways to get parents involved in their child’s education but this is a key component to student success. Struggling students need help beyond the end of the school day. We need to teach parents the most effective ways to help their children succeed and implement more after school programs to help students of working parents.
As alderwoman I will work directly with principals, teachers, and students in the 6th ward to identify areas in need of improvement and to help develop real solutions to today’s educational challenges.