Thursday, May 20, 2010

Dr. Butler Goes to Washington

I apologize for not blogging over the last two days. I was in Washington DC and I forgot how to mobile blog. Today I want to talk about my testimony in front of the House Committee on Education and Labor. You can find the link to the testimony here. You can view the testimony by clicking on "Archived webcast". My written testimony was more detailed than my verbal testimony. Each witness only has five minutes to speak so you have to cut your official written testimony down to a five minute mark. I will have my verbal remarks for you later. I was asked to offer a small, rural school district perspective about the reauthorization of ESEA (No Child Left Behind). Please read my written testimony to better if you want to better understand my point of view. I will provide a short overview of the testimony below.

The major theme of my testimony was that collaboration and teacher professional learning is a key component to any successful school reform. I feel that Ridgway Area School District has had a long history of stakeholders working together to improve student learning. I also stressed the importance of teacher professional learning and that school districts should encourage professional learning on the part of the teachers. I believe that the school district’s teacher supervision plan is a good example of something that was created to encourage collaboration and teacher professional learning. I also recommended to the committee that broadband service is a must for rural school districts. Beyond broadband access, school districts also need the technology infrastructure within the schools to take advantage of the high quality broadband service. Broadband service begins to level the playing field for rural school districts as we can provide better learning opportunities for our students and high quality professional learning for our teachers. I will have more pictures from the trip after I download them from the camera.  The picture today was taken from my smartphone. My goal for the trip was that people in Washington would know about Ridgway Area School District and about the great community that we live in, I feel comfortable that I accomplished this task.

One final note, the hospitality and assistance that Congressman Thompson’s office gave to my family and me during the trip was impressive and appreciated. The Congressman spent time talking with me about education and the reauthorization of ESEA, but more importantly took his time and talked with my kids. He now has a new (younger) fan base! I also want to thank the staff from the Congressman’s office (Deborah Pontzer, Darrell, and Matt) for helping me through the testimony process and making sure that I only had to concentrate on my testimony.

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