Jeff Meadors: Teachers are greatest resource for improving achievement

Jeff Meadors

Jeff Meadors

A new Council on Foreign Relations task force report says failing American schools threaten national security. Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, task force co-chair, remarked that "Educational failure puts the United States' future economic prosperity, global position and physical safety at risk."

While I don't disagree, I'm a lot more worried about damage done by Obamian apology tours and Medvedevian "flexibility" fiascos. We need to keep a wire on this guy at all times.

Lay off of school teachers. They're teaching as fast as they can.

The U.S. spends in excess of $20 billion on non-military foreign aid. We spend double that of the UK and China is nowhere in the top 10. I'd like to see those dollars in our classrooms if U.S. Education Secretary Duncan is serious about investing in education.

Find a way; make it work and stop telling teachers to do more with less. There's nothing left.

The classroom teacher is the single greatest educational influence on American students. They are the greatest resource for turning student achievement around. Every decision made in school systems should be vetted through one question: Does this support classrooms and student achievement?

Rice's task force opines that human capital determines power and that "large, undereducated swaths of the population damage the ability of the United States to physically defend itself, protect its secure information, conduct diplomacy and grow its economy."

Again, I don't disagree, but given the recent Medvedev debacle, I'm a lot more worried about Obama failing to protect secure information than undereducated swaths.

By April 1, the U.S. had the highest corporate tax rate in the world. This bipartisan blunder robs America of leverage on gas, oil and small and large business. Corporations continue to leave the mainland, taking Research & Development (R&D) and science and math graduates with them.

Classroom teachers know how to build human capital. I like the idea of a common core curriculum, but schools must give teachers individual and collaborative planning time for this to work. We have done "reform" before and still lag behind developed nations.

A three-year study of the knowledge and skills of 15-year-olds in 70 countries by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development ranked the U.S. 14th in reading, 17th in science and a below-average 25th in math.

On a scale up to 1,000, the U.S. received scores of 500 in reading, 502 in science and 487 in math. Post-Sputnik accountability, standards, Outcomes Based Education and their ilk formulated to steal classrooms from teachers have failed.

Until we get serious about supporting teachers and classrooms by removing disruptive students, giving teachers uninterrupted time to plan, collaborate, debate best practices and implement a common core, the US will continue to lag as R & D, pushed off shore, takes away the very graduates we need to keep home.

This time around something must be different, or nothing will be. Starving public schools and shipping $20-plus billion overseas isn't working, and I'm not apologizing to anyone.

Jeff Meadors represents District 1 on the Newton County Board of Education. He may be reached at Jeffrey.meadors@gmail.com.


Jugsapoppin 3 years, 6 months ago

I have to agree the teachers being a single greatest educational resource for student's your absolutley right. I also think that teachers need more help and more funding with education it helps when they have the means necessary to teach how they need with what they need.

With good teachers we have have better students and less problems in the classroom setting. Have you ever noticed that once you can get a kids attention in something in a classroom that really catches the focus and the right teacher to do it how much more involved they all tend to be. So give the teachers what they need. We definatley need more funding for schools and teachers.

Very well put Mr Meadors.


Blueeyeddevil 3 years, 6 months ago

Have to certainly agree with Mr Meadors and also Jugs. I know and we were all kids once it really helps to have a very involved teacher to want to go above and beyond as far as really getting involved with the kids. When kids feel that the teacher is involved and really pays attention to their needs, they feel important and they are learning at the same time it makes all the difference in the world. Two things then happen in the classroom unity and less stress because the kids are wanting to learn and instead focusing on outside problems they have reason to stay focused on the task at hand.

So are the teachers the most valuable resources that kids have in the classroom? Absolutely. So I'm with you Mr. Meadors lets get the teachers the funding they need anything to help them as well as the students. Instead of using the funding for other things lets use it where it will be useful. In the school system for the teachers and students that's where it would be most beneficial.


Kodaanddylansmom 3 years, 6 months ago

It is great to see someone want to speak up for the teachers and this is something that is an issue and needs to be addressed. Being a mother and hearing my daughter talk about some of these same issues that have been talked about above in prior comments, it is a concern and the kids notice it as well and that's not good. My daughter loves her teachers but she says that teachers she has complain or should I say voice a concern because they don't have the tools and things that would be most valuable for them to use maybe it be demonstration or other things but the problem is that leads to frustration and then that frustration is carried over onto the students. I say it is felt by all.

Obviously it is something that needs to happen so let's make it happen for these teachers and students. I'm all for more funding anything to help the kids and our wonderful teachers.

Thanks for the great article very informative and so true for all educators.


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