Imagine communities without teachers. Imagine society without public education. It’s untenable to think of life for our kids without the benefits our public schools provide.
Unfortunately, the current state of public education would have you believing that there is little value in our public school teachers and no hope for college students to pick teaching as a career. Ask yourself this: would you join a profession where stagnant pay, ever-shifting guidelines, a depleted workforce, and very little hope of financial improvement is normal? This question was highlighted in the national news over the summer when the Washington Post published an article titled, “Why teachers are fleeing Arizona in Droves” and Arizona went crazy. Unfortunately, reading this piece and just watching the news here at home over the last few months make it easy to see why teacher retention and teacher recruitment are a struggle.
Despite the dire situation we see across the state—proven further by the Arizona Department of Education’s recent analysis—we’re not going to join the ranks of naysayers because we know public education is still a valuable asset for our children.
Ever since Horace Mann’s Common School Movement in the late 1830s, public schools’ nationwide presence has elevated the societal and professional success of generations of children. There are not many other education systems in the world that accept all students, no matter their race, religion, gender, social class, language or special needs. Thanks to public school teachers in Arizona and across the nation, our democratic values have been nurtured from one generation to the next.
So how do we plan to fight the naysayers and combat the bad news? We’re talking to the next generation of teachers who will help fight this pervasive problem.
The Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD) is joining education organizations, school administrators and elected officials to discuss the importance of public education with college students aspiring to join the teaching force.
MCCCD and Glendale Community College Teacher Education Program are hosting The Future Educators Conference tomorrow, where attendees will wrestle with the question, “What is the purpose of public education in a democratic society?”
There are thousands upon thousands of incredible teachers and administrators pouring their creativity, passion, and wisdom into educating students across the state. We believe it is crucial to encourage and inspire college students who are excited to join such a valuable profession.
The Arizona Educational Foundation 2015 Teacher of the Year, John-David Bowman, will kick off the event with his thoughts about civic engagement, followed by presentations from AEF Ambassadors for Excellence and state legislators like Rep. Heather Carter, a former K-12 teacher.
We want to give people in education—and the public—a chance to not only imagine what Arizona would be like with a public education system that is highly valued, but plan for it.
To learn more about tomorrow’s Future Educators Conference and the community’s work to help our future teachers, go to http://www2.gccaz.edu/.
Bobbie O’Boyle, Executive Director of the Arizona Educational Foundation and Heather Merrill, faculty member in the social sciences department of Glendale Community College.