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Let Teachers Teach

David Douglas School District is blessed with wonderful, proficient educators and paraprofessionals. As the Oregon Department of Education reports, 98.6% of classes in our district are taught by highly qualified teachers. Although I believe our district should strive to hire educators that better reflect the demographics of our diverse neighborhoods, I am proud of our current David Douglas teachers and classroom aides. The most important thing we can do to support educators is quite simply to let teachers teach.

We need to place fewer mandates on our teachers and allow more flexibility in the classroom. Yes, we must have ways to measure student success, but too much time is spent on assessment and testing. A child’s ability to conform to the developmental norm does not accurately reflect that child’s potential or cognitive capacity. Kids are marvelously one-of-a-kind. They develop at different rates, and a test given at any particular point in time will measure only this—one specific moment. I believe that less emphasis should be placed on testing and assessments when considering which children need extra attention. Instead, we need to listen to educators and families, the people who spend the most time with our children. They can tell us exactly what each unique child needs to succeed. In short, personalized learning for each child’s individual educational journey.

For our teachers to be supported in this, we absolutely must have lower class sizes. Working with fewer numbers of students allows teachers to better assess how each student learns, where the student needs additional help, and what factors are impacting a child’s ability to progress. 

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