Senate Briefing

On Thursday, December 8th at 3:30pm there was a Senate briefing called “Student Access To Prepared & Effective Teachers: Understanding The Impact Of Federal Policy.” The briefing discussed the issues of teacher quality and equity and the role of the Federal Government.

This briefing was important because the re-authorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, also known as No Child Left Behind, passed the Senate committee and might soon reach the floor for a vote.

This was an opportunity to highlight the issue of the inequitable distribution of qualified, experienced, and effective teachers.

Shayla Johnson, a senior from Overbrook High School and a leader in the Philadelphia Student Union spoke at the briefing representing the perspective of students on the topic of teacher quality. Shayla was the only youth speaker amongst the panel of education experts and laid out the issue of teacher quality with precision.

There is a great inequity regarding students access to qualified teachers and it is continuing to grow. Namely, there is an abundance of inexperienced teachers disproportionately placed in low income high minority schools.

New teachers need training on how to interact with students on a positive level as well as be able to turn moments of ineffectiveness into moments of effectiveness so student stay receptive to the learning and don’t fall behind.

As Shayla said, “If its mandatory that students attend school why isn’t it mandatory for our schools to have qualified teachers? Education is a human right and students deserve a quality education from quality teachers. Our education certainly isn’t fit for the members of Congress’ children so why is it fit for us?”

Students deserve qualified and effective teachers along with a quality resource abundant education. Unless students are given quality teachers and the resources to achieve how are students supposed to go on to live successful lives?

You Can view the video here. Shayla Speaks around the 17:35 mark.

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