Edwin Rosales is a Junior at Norwalk High School. At last week’s public hearings, as various parties spoke up to voice their opinions about the Governor’s Proposed Bill, Edwin’s testimony stood out to us as an important reminder that students’ needs must be the primary determinant when developing education policy. We are grateful that Edwin has permitted us to publish his written testimony below.

Senate Bill 24 Testimony, February 21, 2012

Chairwoman Stillman, Chairman Fleischmann, and members of the education committee, thank you very much for having me here today. My name is Edwin Rosales, and I am currently a junior at Norwalk High School in Norwalk CT. I am here to support Senate Bill 24.

Education has always been an important part of my life, and it is what is driving me towards success. I believe that my experience in the Norwalk Public Schools has not been a bad one, though I also believe it has not been the best. I come from a country where education is not valued at all, where education has to be paid for in the tens of thousands so that we may have a future. As a result, I have always cared deeply about school, though I can’t necessarily say the same for all students, or even teachers that are in my school, or schools elsewhere in CT. On one hand, I can count all the teachers that have really motivated me for success.

One hand. Considering that I have had over fifty teachers in my high school and middle school career, I consider that, for a lack of better terms, sad. It is sad that really only five or so teachers have ignited or fueled a drive in me to succeed, to get the best grades I could and to attend the right college for me. It is sad to realize that at my school alone, I think I am more motivated to learn than some of the teachers are to teach. Teaching is not an easy job, to say the least, and I think it is one of the most important jobs there is in this society. Children are our future, we all realize that, so why is it that we allow unfit teachers into our schooling systems?

I come to you today to speak my mind on what my eyes have seen for the ten years that I have attended school in this country. We have lost our cause for education, our care, and even our respect for it. The five teachers that I believe have inspired me are some of the rare few who still care about education at this point, which is why I admire them so. It is such a fascinating act to witness a truly good teacher. A teacher who can teach with passion, who can inspire her students, and who above all loves the act of learning. The teachers that I have come to love have become my inspiration to become a teacher myself. I believe that learning is a gift, which no one should be turned away from having. I believe that great teachers give that gift to students everyday.

Teachers like Ms. Doebrl, my Honors French teacher, have made all the difference in my education. She goes above and beyond to make the class material relevant and interesting to students and she works hard to prepare all of her students for success. Ms. Doebrl has shown me how I can make a difference in students’ lives by becoming a teacher.

I may be a student, but I know what a great teacher looks like, and I have had some of them. They have changed my life and made me love learning and believe in myself. That is why I believe this committee should pass Senate Bill 24. This bill will help make sure students like me and students all around the state have a great teacher every year – this will make a huge difference. I want the best teachers to stay and keep teaching. I want all teachers to feel good about what they do and to get rewarded when they are great. But I also know when I have a teacher that is not good, and I don’t understand why teachers who do not teach, year after year, are still in my school.

Please, if you only remember one thing from what I am saying, I hope you remember who I am. A student, whose future is in your hands and the hands of people who control education. I have had a few great teachers in the past, but my only hope is that are more like them start appearing in our school systems. I believe that even one teacher can make a difference, so why not make it more than one to change the lives of countless students across Connecticut? If you care about our futures, please pass Senate Bill 24! Thank you.

The ideas expressed in this blog post reflect the views of the writer and are not necessarily those of the Connecticut Council for Education Reform (CCER). For information about CCER’s stance on these issues, see our Report outlining 65+ recommendations for how Connecticut can close its achievement gap while raising academic outcomes for all students.

5 thoughts on “A Connecticut High School Student Testifies in Support of the Governor’s Education Bill

  1. Clarence Coles says:

    Mr. Rosales’ testimony is poignant. However, as a minority teacher who has gone the extra mile for my kids, I have to say that I think this student’s take on teachers is one I have heard before. Teachers should not have to be supermen or superwomen to do their jobs. Those of us who chose to essentially work double time should not be venerated above our colleagues. Teachers, whether they do the minimum or whether they do the maximum, should not be held accountable for the future aspirations of their students. If you do, then teachers should be paid commensurately. Are you willing to do that? Finally, I believe that using the testimony of this particular student is near-inflammatory and border-line insulting to the teaching profession. This particular red herring is getting tiresome.

  2. Sarah says:

    Mr. Rosales, those five may have inspired you, but did they raise your test scores? By linking tenure, certification, and salary with student test scores, SB 24 has left no room for inspiration. The next test is only weeks away, so drill, drill drill!

  3. SB says:

    I would like to apologize to my 7th grade math teacher. She always had great lessons- very thorough and well-organized. She had great classroom management too. However, I didn’t pay attention because I didn’t like math and had a crush on someone in that class. I didn’t do my homework either because I was too worn out after field hockey practice. So my test scores did not increase during my time in her class. I really hope she will not be rated ineffective because of students like me; if I were back in her class now, as an adult, I would have behaved a lot differently than I did as a 12 year old.

  4. TatPS says:

    Mr. Rosales, I commend you for your courage for standing by what you believe in but read the bill and get the facts. You are still a child who will probably change his mind if one of those “inspiring” teachers of yours yells at you the next day.

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