Texas and Beyond: Popular Education Reform Initiatives

Lately, educators have been stealing the spotlight in the national news. From strikes and walkouts in West Virginia to Arizona, to a narrowly averted strike in Los Angeles, educators have been taking a stand for what they feel is necessary to better reach and teach all students. Just last week, schools across North Carolina closed as teachers protested by requesting paid time off en masse, and used that time to rally in the state’s capital to demand more education funding. Whether you agree with this method of advocacy, there is one clear message that is heard loud and clear across the country: We must do better for our students.

Where Do We Start?

At Planting Seeds Tutoring, we have an opportunity to interact with a myriad of educational
stakeholders: students, parents, educators, administrators. Through our interactions and dialogue, we notice a pattern in concerns, solutions, and proposals. Below are some of the proposed reforms that are gaining traction across the nation:

Embrace Personalized Learning Over Standardized Test Scores

This initiative can be broken down further by looking at how we understand and teach students with learning disabilities, how we assess all student success, and the colonization of curriculum. As we’ve discussed in earlier blogs, one size does not fit all in educational settings. As we’ve codified education and mandated that all students must show proficiency in certain areas to be deemed ‘ready’ for promotion, we may neglect to assess individual growth. A standardized approach often ignores individual learning styles and speeds. Even adults have strengths and weaknesses.If, in the workforce, we were all held to the same exact standard on every imaginable metric, we would all feel a sense of failure on a regular basis. So why do
we do this to our children? Standardized curriculum and assessments are ineffective methods for reaching and teaching all students. If we fail to do that, we set students up for a lifetime of challenges as they work to ‘catch up’ in areas that are meant to serve as foundational skills for future success.

Reinforce and Support Our Educators

Teachers are heroes. Truly. Each day, they pour their hearts into all of their students. Often teachers find themselves teaching in overcrowded classrooms, with outdated supplies, and never enough hours in the day. It is commonplace for teachers to spend their own money on classroom supplies, to work multiple jobs to support themselves, and it is a certainty that teachers spend a great deal of their ‘free’ time planning for their students and supporting them in and out of the classroom. Collectively, we need to do better. How? We need to redesign the systems that are in place for teacher compensation. Teachers work to ensure that the future is bright for our children. Without teachers, there would be no athletes, or actors,scientists, doctors, politicians, and so on. We are nothing without our educators. Higher pay would
provide teachers with the job security they need to live comfortably within the communities in which they teach. Additionally, we need to recruit more minority teachers into the classroom. As our classrooms evolve to be more reflective of our multicultural communities, it is important for students of color to feel represented in the classroom. Coupled with cultural sensitivity training, and heightened awareness of other people’s beliefs and traditions, a more inclusive classroom would be a win-win for everyone.

Additional Measures to Consider

● Parent Empowerment: School systems should consider incorporating funds for parent advocacy
and empowerment workshops in their budgets. When parents are informed and empowered,
they become fierce allies of and develop a deeper appreciation for education. When parents
and guardians learn more about their students’ rights and become more capable advocates, we
promote a more harmonious working relationship and more successful student outcomes.

● Financial Literacy: Many of our students leave high school knowing very little about finances.
Without a comprehensive understanding of financial strategies,interest rates, and credit scores,
our children are destined to make decisions that could have a long-lasting negative impact on
their futures.

● Re-evaluate mandatory college classes: Often colleges and universities require students to take classes that are totally unrelated to their major. Physical education requirements for a math major, psychological statistics for a history major, and Latin classes for an aspiring engineer may not be the most sensible allocation of time, expenses, or talents.

How We Support Educational Reform

Collectively, there is a lot to be done in order to improve our education system and to provide the support necessary for our educators to do their job. At Planting Seeds Tutoring, we are committed to doing our part. We support students, parents, and teachers through our direct work, and will also use our platforms and voice to help promote and enact policies that will positively impact education in the state of Texas. We care deeply for our students and are invested in their success. Above all, we are advocates for students and education and we will not shirk our responsibilities and obligations.

Contact Planting Seeds Tutoring Today

At Planting Seeds Tutoring, an Austin, South, and Central Texas-based tutoring company, we
are committed to supporting students. We work to ensure that every student we work with has
access to the most comprehensive tools and strategies to be successful both in and out of the
classroom. To learn more about the full range of services we offer, visit our blog, visit our newly
revamped website and follow us on Facebook. You can also contact Planting Seeds Tutoring with your questions at (972) 342-6496, or via email at plantingseedstutoring@gmail.com