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Michael Schlabra Weighs in on Recent Opinions of Bill Gates on Education Reform

A recently released article by Bill Gates takes a look at education reform and teaching needs he witnessed as co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Georgia-based educator and school improvement specialist Michael Schlabra comments.
 
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    PHILADELPHIA, PA, April 10, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/ -- According to Michael Schlabra, a School Improvement Specialist with the Georgia Department of Education, education reform is one issue that has placed a continuous stress on American citizens. While government officials and education authorities continue to debate on ways to approach reform and enhance the country's overall approach to academics, a recently released opinion article on the subject by Microsoft founder Bill Gates has won the attention of Schlabra.

Gates' article, released by The Washington Post, takes a comprehensive look at teaching and testing standards that have raised a lot of arguments from communities and officials throughout the entire country. For Gates, one solution for the myriad of problems that face today's current education system rests within a more thorough and understanding evaluation of both teachers and the subjects they teach.

In his article, Gates explains, "In much the same way that sports teams identify and nurture talent, there is a window of opportunity in public education to create systems that encourage and develop fantastic teachers, leading to better results for students. Efforts are being made to define effective teaching and give teachers the support they need to be as effective as possible. But as states and districts rush to implement new teacher development and evaluation systems, there is a risk they'll use hastily contrived, unproven measures."

Having firsthand experience with the immense pressure that current standardized testing requirement place on school systems and educators, Michael Schlabra comments, "Similar to what Bill Gates posits in his opinion piece, I believe that education standards have pushed for a hasty assessment of a teacher's worth based on standardized testing results alone. While I do not think that testing should be discounted altogether, I do think that there is a greater way to inspire change by allowing teachers to collaborate and use their collective strengths, rather than following the benchmarks established by school systems."

What Michael Schlabra found interesting in Gates' article was his analysis of what teachers are looking for. The article reveals, "...teachers want an environment based on collaboration, in which they can rely on one another to share lesson plans, get advice and understand what's working well in other classrooms...Teachers also tell me that while compensation is important, so are factors such as high-quality professional development opportunities, a strong school leader, engaged families and the chance to work with like-minded colleagues."

In conclusion, Michael Schlabra responds, "It is incredibly important to listen to teacher's wishes when it comes to education reform. These are experienced professionals who are closest to students and understand their academic needs--their opinion should weigh heavy on reform decisions."

ABOUT:

Michael Schlabra is a progressive educator currently living in the state of Georgia who serves as the School Improvement Specialist with the Georgia Department of Education. After completing his undergraduate education at the University of Houston in 1996, Schlabra earned his Masters of Education, with a concentration in educational leadership, from the Sam Houston State University. He has also been certified with a Specialist of Education degree from University of Georgia, and went on to receive his Doctorate from the School of Education at Liberty University. Having proven himself as an academic, Michael Schlabra continues to act as an informed professional who understands administration needs for today's education system and teachers.



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