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Appreciate teachers

by Suzanne Bonamici

It’s National Teacher Appreciation Week!

Teachers deserve our gratitude, and it’s great that there’s a week set aside to remind us of all they do to instill a love of learning in our children. But we should thank our teachers each and every week. Despite high stakes testing, budget challenges, and bigger class sizes, teachers dedicate themselves to the education and enrichment of their students.

To all of our teachers: thank you for everything you do!

Recently I did a tour of schools across NW Oregon. As I traveled from large metropolitan schools in Washington County to small rural schools in Yamhill County, I heard this message from teachers, students, and families -- stop the endless stream of high-stakes tests.

Rather than focusing on whole child instruction and creative learning that will prepare our students to become the next generation of innovators, too much classroom time is spent preparing students for the next test. Good assessments help inform instruction, but many tests are duplicative or poor quality.

One way we can help teachers is by getting rid of excessive and redundant testing. That’s why I am leading the efforts to pass the bipartisan SMART Act, legislation that will help states and school districts eliminate unreliable or redundant tests that do little to inform instruction or support student achievement.

We all want to see our children succeed in school, and we want our teachers to be empowered to help students learn, grow, and reach their highest potential every week of the year.

Once again, thank you to our teachers. Their efforts are essential to our children, our communities, and our future.

Posted on May 6, 2015.