I am a trained, professional educator. This isn’t an opinion – it’s a documented fact. I have earned degrees and a certification from accredited teacher education programs, was awarded teaching licenses in two states, and have on-the-job experience. This provides me with deep understandings of how people learn and how to teach; understandings that someone who is not a trained educator does not possess. Hence, it really bothers me when people, such as politicians, who are not trained educators tell me and my colleagues how to our jobs. Would they interfere with the work of their dentist, mechanic, or IT technician? Yet, politicians consistently interfere with the work of educators.
The vast majority of public-school teachers in the United States are trained, professional educators. To become a social studies teacher, one must take content classes in history, civics, geography, and economics. Additionally, they learn about the academic and social-emotional needs of students, and the methodology of effective instruction. Throughout their careers, they hone the skills and expertise necessary to provide meaningful instruction to a specific age level about specific topics. Teachers become specialists in their field. So why is a contingency of Ohio legislators trying to tell teachers, specifically social studies teachers, what and how to teach?
Ohio House Bills 322 and 327 are the latest attempt by some Ohio politicians to infringe upon the expertise of educators. The bills imply that teachers, particularly social studies teachers, are promoting racism and sexism. In reality the opposite is true: social studies teachers utilize their content and pedagogical knowledge to promote the dismantling of racism and sexism. They are expertly prepared to engage students in discussions about such injustices through the exploration of historical and contemporary events. Social studies teachers prepare students to become active and engaged participants in public life: citizens who recognize injustices and advocate against them for the greater good of our society. If legislators want to combat racism and sexism, they should let the experts do their jobs.
Teachers know what they’re doing. They’ve trained for this. And if that isn’t enough, their performance is routinely evaluated by school administrations and the state. We want the best for our children. We trust the pediatrician because of their expertise garnered from education and experience. So, trust our teachers. They too have the expertise required to provide professional care for our children.
Ohio Legislative Service Commission. (2021, June 14). H.B. 322 Bill Analysis. https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/download?key=17005&format=pdf
Ohio Legislative Service Commission. (2021, June 14). H.B. 327 Bill Analysis. https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/download?key=16997&format=pdf