Teachers make a difference
In 1976, I started my first professional teaching job in Tomah, Wis. Those rewarding years as a teacher, principal and administrator reinforced the importance of education. Now, as state superintendent of public instruction, I am honored and humbled by the trust the people of Wisconsin have put in me to improve public education in our state.
Together we must make sure our children graduate with the skills to be successful in the workforce or further education.
And so during this Teacher Appreciation Week, I encourage students to consider careers in education. Research shows that the teacher in the classroom is the most important factor in student academic achievement. For Wisconsin to attain higher levels of academic achievement, we need talented, devoted teachers to help our students grow. Make a difference: teach.
I know there is frightening news of educator layoffs in schools across the state and nation. Our economic woes and budgetary cuts are very real. So, too, is the fact that many school districts hire teachers each year to replace veteran educators who retire or move on to other careers. In a speech about the importance of training effective teachers, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan suggests that by 2014, new teachers will fill up to 1 million positions. While some may think that is a rosy picture, I do know there will always be a need for talented teachers.
My parents and teachers in Plymouth, Wis., made sure I got a solid education. It has made all the difference in my life. Tomorrow’s students need teachers who believe in them when they doubt themselves or who challenge them when they might prefer an easier way. We need today’s high school students to become these teachers, continuing the tradition of strong educators guiding the next generation.
And while I want to encourage young people to consider careers in education, during Teacher Appreciation Week I also thank those who work in education. Your devotion to children makes a difference. So during the May 2-8 Teacher Appreciation Week observance, I ask everyone in Wisconsin to join me in recognizing the importance of teachers and to encourage young people to consider careers in teaching.
Tony Evers is the elected state superintendent of public instruction. Contact him at 125 S. Webster St., P.O. Box 7841, Madison, WI 53707-7841; phone (608) 266-3559.