Stop the Fight over Teachers’ Names and the Do the Work that Needs to be Done

We may never all agree about whether teachers should have staged a “sickout” to go to the Capitol during the legislative session, but we should all agree it’s time to move on.

It’s time to focus on the students and make the most of each school day for the rest of this year.

None of these school districts should be spending any time off-task when our goal is to raise achievement for every child.

JCPS made the right call yesterday when it asked Education Commissioner Wayne Lewis to rescind the request for names of teachers who missed school to protest in Frankfort.  No good will come from keeping a list. It will hang over the district like the threat of state takeover did. That’s not what is best for kids.

I understand the argument that being out of school is also not best for kids. We can argue back and forth all day, but sometimes you just have to get back to business.

It is important to figure out why this happened, and what can be done to address what caused it.

Legislators need to build trust. Largely because of ugly words coming from Frankfort and past surprise actions, teachers – and other citizens – don’t feel like they can be sure of when and how our state government will make decisions.

Outside advocacy groups influenced this month’s protests in a way counter to the plans for political action that had been worked out by the union and district leadership. These groups face absolutely no consequences for their actions. What they encouraged, the district leadership must now deal with.  Teachers need to work with their union moving forward.

JCPS has had so much to manage these last couple years: potential state takeover, leadership changes, real crisis in helping disadvantaged kids get what they need, and too many people telling it what it should be doing instead of supporting well-documented progress.

All words should be encouraging at this time, and all the time. So many past criticisms still hang in the air and affect the environment in a negative way, and last for years.

What I hear around Jefferson County more and more are comments in support of the district leadership and excitement about new initiatives to deepen learning.

Let’s keep this good work and essential community support going.  Let the districts focus on school.

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