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Politics and Schools

As is pointed out in your textbook in the discussion on pages 55-61, there are many inputs into the school district in the form of demands or supports. In a personal reflection paper, briefly describe the difference between the two as described in your text. Then, consider your own current school setting.  What are the major demands and supports, and how do you see recent political decisions (local, state, federal) balancing between the two?  Your paper should be a Word Document of 400-600 words.

 

Every school and school district have many demands and support. The demands are when a group of citizens, parents or an agency expects a certain program from the school or certain results from students at a school.   The school district, the state or the federal government sometimes drives demands.  Demands include how to organize your school and the documentation of student, teacher and school performance.  Support is when there is a group or individual supporting the school financially or in other ways to allow the school to do their job.  Support sometimes comes in the form of a parent organization like an education foundation or parent-teacher organization (PTO).

The major demand in my school, Woodmen-Roberts Elementary School, is that we are an International Baccalaureate (IB) – Primary Years Program (PYP) School. The mission of the International Baccalaureate Organization states: “The International Baccalaureate aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect. . . These programmes encourage students across the world to become active, compassionate and lifelong learners who understand that other people, with their differences, can also be right” (The IB at a Glance).  Woodmen-Roberts became an IB school in 2007.  This upcoming fall, we will be starting our self-study year. The IB provides a guide describing how to reflect on our school as an IB school. After the year, IB representatives come to evaluate if we were honest with our self-study and recommend any changes to our program.  Being the IB coordinator I am facilitating the self-study. With all the demands of testing, the PYP program is not always the top priority for our teachers or students, but it is the roadmap that enables us to prepare our students for the standards.  The support we receive for this is very low from IB organization. We have to pay the IB $7,000 every year just for the general fee. We are required do make sure that all teachers and admin are IB trained every five years. We get financial support from our district for being an IB school, but the money falls short of the demands of an IB program.  Currently we have 18 teachers who have not been trained in over 5 years. The trainings cost $799 for the session, but that does not include travel expenses.

The other major demand facing all Colorado public schools is Senate Bill 191 which changes the way all educators will be evaluated “with the ultimate goal of continuously supporting educators’ professional growth and, in turn, accelerating student results” (Senate Bill 10-191). In theory, Senate Bill 191 could be a positive move for educators, but in an IB school it is another set of rules that needs to be merged with the IB rules for teachers. The qualifications are that 50% of educators evaluation is in the form of academic growth of their students. Senate Bill 191 also requires annual reviews of all educators. In talking with various principals, they felt that Senate Bill 191 will not change how they lead their buildings, but it will require extra paperwork more frequently while performing reviews of their teachers.

Historically, it seems that the initiatives coming from state or federal governments need funding or resources to be accomplished successfully but the support required are lagging. Schools do not have enough money to do their jobs because they can’t always attract and retain the best teachers or purchase the needed curriculum. The demand and the support do not equal each other and therefore schools are suffering.

 

 

References

The IB at a glance – What makes the IB unique?. (n.d.). The IB at a glance – What makes the IB unique?. Retrieved June 9, 2014, from http://www.ibo.org/who/slidec.cfm

Senate Bill 10-191. (n.d.). Colorado Department of Education Home Page. Retrieved June 9, 2014, from http://www.cde.state.co.us/educatoreffectiveness/overviewofsb191#sthash.N2a7KgPf.dpuf

 

 

 

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