The following statement can be attributed to the Association of American Educators Executive Director Gary Beckner.
This new year the Association of American Educators gladly joins hands with other professional associations and groups of teachers, parents, and students to support school choice during National School Choice Week, January 23-29. The movement calls for an effective education system that has the flexibility to personalize and motivate students and allows parents to choose the learning environment that is best suited for their child.
School choice is a vital component of the education reform movement. We know that students learn differently, so a one-size-fits-all learning environment is mostly counterproductive. Parents must have the choice of where to educate their individual child. And as educators we must recognize the possibilities for advancement and positive growth in the profession through school choice.
Our primary goal as an organization is to empower, protect, and represent all professional educators. We must be aware of changes and trends in the profession as advocates for teachers in both traditional and non-traditional roles. As technology changes and evolves, the world of education and teaching will undoubtedly change. We must stay ahead of the curve.
AAE recognizes that not all of our members agree with all school choice options. Our surveys indicate, however, that our members agree that the status quo is not working and changes must be made for the sake of our children. Our surveys further show that AAE members support many of the educational reforms embraced by this coalition.
Although some educators, including many of our members, might see school choice as foreboding for the public school outlook, school choice encompasses empowerment for the parent to choose an environment that employs teachers in all arenas. A new era has been ushered in for education. Once limited to rigid traditional school-terms and schedules, teachers are employed in traditional public schools, charters, private schools, religious schools, and online schools just to name a few. Educators will in turn have choices themselves when deciding when, where and how to teach kids.
This should not be seen as a threat to teachers, rather an uprising that promises unlimited potential for the profession. The future of education is choice and technological advancement, and as primary stakeholders in the conversation we must rise to the occasion.
A committed educator who cannot adhere to the strict schedule of traditional public school should not have to leave the profession. As the system evolves, we continually hear success stories of teachers setting their own schedules through online schools and non-traditional charters. This could be the new norm of modern-day teaching with school choice in play.
AAE's goal is to serve members in all arenas. From the majority of teachers working in the traditional public school atmosphere, to charters, teacher-run schools, and new and improving online and open schools, we are committed to providing all teachers with quality professional products and services. Supporting school choice options with which our members agree does not change our focus as an association.
Often times, politicians and education reformers are making the decisions that directly affect teachers in the classroom without proper input from those on the front lines of implementing new policies. As a professional association of educators, we are uniquely positioned to join the conversation and make sure AAE member voices are heard in this debate. By joining this network of organizations we can directly affect policy that will have a profound impact on improving and modernizing education.
It is my hope that through joining with this school choice coalition we can continue to be an association of reform-minded and forward-thinking professionals. AAE will never stifle advances in education and will continue to provide teachers with a voice on the issues. We would love to hear your thoughts on school choice and continue the conversation on issues that affect you in the classroom.
2011 will be the year for education reform. We are proud to stand with professional associations, grassroots organizations, parents, students, and teachers in calling for a system that spells success for students and potential for educators.