– It wasn’t scientific, but an informal survey by an El Roble
teacher of El Roble teachers gave insight Thursday night into what
local educators really feel about district and state classroom
GILROY – It wasn’t scientific, but an informal survey by an El Roble teacher of El Roble teachers gave insight Thursday night into what local educators really feel about district and state classroom initiatives.
El Roble second-grade teacher Marc Barlow presented school board trustees with a handwritten list of teachers’ opinions on topics ranging from standardized testing to staff development. The frank comments suggest educators want, among other things, more freedom in developing curriculum and more funding to implement the strategies they are taught in training.
“I think we have to listen to this kind of feedback. These are the people in the field,” Trustee David McRae said. “I don’t have any percentages, but there are others who are probably just reacting to change.”
Over the last three years, Gilroy Unified School District has enacted a series of sweeping reforms, impacting everything from classroom instruction to when and where children go to school. Likewise, the state and federal government have initiated programs making schools more accountable for student achievement on standardized tests.
Barlow, who reported that educators work an average of 11 hours a day, did not make any specific request of trustees or staff. He collected his data by talking with teachers after class over a course of three days.
Barlow read some of the anonymous comments to staff and trustees at Thursday’s school board meeting. He would not provide a copy of the statements to The Dispatch.
The following comments are some of the items Barlow read:
• “Teachers should have more input into how money is spent.”
• “We need appropriate materials and (grade) level (reading books)…”
• “There is too much time and money devoted to testing and training in this district.”
• “I don’t need constant, standardized, generic tests to tell me which students are at risk.”
• “If the training was relevant, teachers would attend voluntarily …”
• “Grade four and five are at 33 and 44 students all over the district.”
• “Expectations of the curriculum exceeds the minutes available to teach.”
• “(Regarding training) I received some good ideas, but not enough new strategies were suggested to justify the expense of the training. Plus, I have not been given enough materials to implement the program.”