Our Teachers Deserve Our Appreciation
Date: May 1, 2009
By: Bob Goodlatte
It’s that time of year when warmer weather returns and students all across Virginia are preparing for their final tests of the school year while dreaming of their summer vacation. But it is also important that as the school year winds down we thank the hard working teachers who educate our children.
Teacher Appreciation Week, which is officially celebrated this week, is a time to say thank you to our teachers for all of their help and show our gratitude for all the time and effort that they have put into our education system. Having highly qualified teachers in our nation’s classrooms is essential to ensuring all children have an opportunity to receive the most valuable education possible.
I personally know how hard teachers work to make lesson plans, teach our children, and fight for those who are struggling. Three of my sisters are teachers and I know that they, like all teachers, are dedicated to educating the next generation of Americans as best they can. While it is important to show our appreciation to teachers, we must also all strive to strengthen our overall educational system.
In 2002, the Congress worked in a bipartisan fashion to enact the No Child Left Behind Act. This comprehensive legislation reformed the primary federal law impacting kindergarten through 12th grade education programs. The original intent of the law was to reform accountability, provide greater flexibility and local control, and give parents more options. While the basic goals of the No Child Left Behind Act were good I believe in practice it has led to more bureaucracy, duplication of testing and inflexibility in measuring the education progress of some of our more challenged students. It is important to provide more flexibility and decision-making power to the individual states, parents and teachers.
For that reason, I have supported legislation which frees states, like Virginia, from the federal requirements tied to funding under No Child Left Behind and grants them the flexibility to implement initiatives that they develop to best meet the unique needs of their particular students. We must give states maximum freedom to implement initiatives that work in their particular state and reduce regulatory burdens associated with federal education programs so educators can focus on teaching.
This year Congress will begin the reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act and it does so with the understanding that America’s teachers are on the frontlines of a national effort to close the achievement gap experienced by American students compared to those in other developed countries. During this reauthorization process, I will push for innovative ways to reward these men and women for their successes inside the classroom.
America’s teachers are charged with fostering a love and mastery of learning within our children. This week, in particular, let us all take a moment to thank these educators who are helping to provide our nation’s youth with a brighter future by giving them the best education possible.