We attended a Board of Elementary and Secondary Education(BESE) committee meeting in October to discuss an issue we felt is critically important regarding the education of young children.
Emails to the board addressing these concerns had gone unanswered, and we wanted our voices to be heard.
Throughout the meeting, we saw many Louisiana teachers address the board with their own concerns regarding various issues. As these teachers spoke, many BESE board members engaged in side bar conversations with each other, talked on cell phones and one board member even began to fall asleep.
As early childhood education students, we felt strongly about the impending changes to the Louisiana pre-kindergarten program and were nervous that we would be treated the same way that these veteran teachers were treated. When we addressed the board, we asked specific questions regarding BESE’s definitions of both developmentally appropriate practices and school readiness; however, the board redirected our questions to another BESE staff member.
Unfortunately, we left the floor concerned over the apparent differences in our definitions of developmentally appropriate practices and those of the BESE board. We were left to wonder if the disconnect may be related to the lack of university professors’ and professional educators’ involvement in the formation of the state plan.
As education students and future teachers, we believe that this state is in desperate need of highly educated teachers to be role models and inspiration to children. However, in order for this goal to be accomplished, teachers must be respected and heard by policymakers who use every resource available before making such drastic decisions.
Rachel Ginn, Baton Rouge, La.;
Katy Lloyd, Slidell, La.;
Abbey Bickmore, Baton Rouge, La.