For the last year and a half I have been going to school, but not like you might think. In May of 2012 a colleague of mine at Middle TN State University, asked if I would join a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant project on which he was working. This grant, called Master Teacher Fellowships, was designed to support exceptional high school science and math teachers who teach in under served rural schools. The five year project was designed to give them additional skills to help them to become mentors and raise the competency of other teachers in their schools.
Many people blame the problems with the education system on the teachers unions, “non-caring, unqualified teachers”, and a tenure system that is believed to protect under performing teachers. This view has permeated the “group think” of a great number of Americans who now demand “accountability” for our teachers. This focus on teacher accountability has resulted in ignoring many other substantive problems that contribute to the overall problems within our education system.
The reality is that numerous research studies confirm that the number one strategy for improving school performance is parental and community involvement. This is true regardless of whether the school is affluent or poor, rural or urban, multicultural, etc. The first step in getting involved is to become aware of what is really happening in your school district. An ever burgeoning cadre of bureaucrats are running our schools and they need to be accountable to parents and the community. Your participation can help make that happen.