As readers know, I have a goal to visit all 174 Kentucky school districts by August 2012. Currently, I have visited more than 100 districts and over 300 schools. When I visit, I like to ask teachers and principals about the challenges they are facing.
In 2009, the General Assembly passed Senate Bill 1 (SB 1)without opposition. This legislation required implementation of new standards, new assessments and a new accountability system by the 2011-12 school year. When I talk with teachers and principals, this is usually the focus of my conversation.
What I often hear is the overwhelming nature of what we have asked teachers and leaders to do. They have been asked to completely transform expectations for students and student performance during a time when there have been significant cuts to professional development and instructional resources.
In spite of the challenges, I have found terrific leaders and teachers in every school. They are working hard to meet the challenges of SB 1. They are digging hard to find resources to help each other and to help each student reach his or her potential.
To all the teachers and leaders in our schools, I want to say “thank you” for your professionalism and dedication to the future of our children. Hang in there, because two or three years from now, we will certainly see the payoff for your hard work and dedication.