by Dmitriy Synkov
A 7th and 8th grade science teacher, Alexandra Agar stresses the importance of creativity and hands-on inquiry in the classroom. “I want kids to explore coming up with their own questions, figuring out how to problem solve, how to go through a scientific process, but not necessarily following a cook-book recipe.”
Take Action ›
Pledge to stand up for students in November.
CLICK HERE. ›
Now in her second year at Riverside Middle School in Watertown, WI, Agar has seen first-hand the changing climate of public education.
“Being an educator in Wisconsin I’ve felt a lot of these changes. During my first year on the job I had fellow teachers explain to me how different it is now, and how much more it has put on their plate,” she says about the debilitating cuts to public education in her state.
Teachers feel like they don’t get to teach anymore because they have so many other responsibilities and obligations. It’s pulling them away from their classrooms, from their teaching time, from their students.
Governor Scott Walker has cut over $1 billion from public schools, resulting in thousands of teacher layoffs across the state. He also signed into law a crippling state budget that funneled another $74 million to unaccountable private school voucher programs.
“If we want this downward trend to turn around, this is the time to make it happen before it goes too far,” she says about the upcoming November elections. “The students and classrooms are suffering. The teachers are suffering. Communities are feeling it.”
Agar is hopeful that passionate young teachers like her will continue on the path from college to the teaching profession, but stresses that given the recent cuts, it will be a much harder transition than before.
“It has been kind of a scary time. Teachers don’t have the technology or resources in their classrooms to give students the education they need,” she says of the last few years. “Public education funding is definitely the biggest issue right now in Wisconsin.”