Some of the loudest applause from last week's public comment section came after a teacher urged the Wake County school board to use more teacher input when making decisions.
Nate Barton, a fourth-grade teacher at Washington Elementary School, told board members that "my concern is that the voice of the classroom teacher frequently goes unheard." He didn't elaborate on what decisions he felt were being made without teacher input, but the fact that he works at a magnet school could give some indications.
"My hope here today is that I might persuade you to allow more of your thinking to be shaped by the voice of classroom teachers," Barton said. "As a passionate advocate for education, I've always believed that the best policies are those that are informed by practitioners."
He said teachers "tend to possess a nuanced understanding of the culture of schools" that can quickly allow them to identify policy weaknesses.
Barton praised the school system as historically having been "recognized both nationally and internationally for our high achievement and expectations in education."
"We have as a manner of course drawn the highest quality teachers to this area and the results I believe continue to be demonstrated in our schools," Barton said. "Sadly this wealth of talent is often underutilized by those who employ them.
I would like to suggest today that you find a way to hear the voices of the ones who have the greatest impact on our children. Please find a way to set into motion the untapped power of the collective intellect of your teachers. I believe very strongly the results could change the world."