In addition to a safe learning environment, our children deserve the best education available. Some of this involves working to achieve top test results, student-teacher ratios and graduation rates. But more of it involves having great teachers and great school options, including neighborhood, magnet, charter and vocational schools.

There is nothing more impactful to a child’s learning than a great teacher. I am 45 years old, yet my 7th grade Science and 10th grade English teachers are still near and dear to my heart. In a recent public survey, “attracting and retaining high quality teachers” was listed as the district’s biggest leadership challenge. Indeed, DCPS loses about half of its teachers every 5 years. I have seen it first hand. My middle schooler lost one of his favorite teachers earlier this year to a higher paying job in industry.

Fantastic teachers and fantastic school options inspire our children. Kids excel when parents have a wide variety of great learning options to choose from.

Inspiring learning options also strongly impact a child’s education. The DCPS system that my kids currently attend looks decidedly different from the public schools my wife and I attended in the 1970s and 80s. In addition to their neighborhood schools, my kids have access to magnet schools, charters, vocational learning and other innovative programs. They can focus on art, leadership, technology, even carpentry and plumbing.

DCPS is a leader in magnet options. It has also recently expanded its offering of vocational learning, as described in this article here.

The concept is simple. Fantastic teachers and fantastic options inspire our children. Inspired children stay in school. These are proven strategies. They have worked in other large municipal school districts around the country. They will work here. If we can continue to responsibly expand school options and at the same time use the millions we spend on recruiting and training new teachers instead to reward and retain the excellent ones we already have, then we stand a real chance of becoming one of the highest performing municipal school districts in the country. 

That would be great for our kids and for our community.

Mailer 6

Paid for by Nick Howland, Candidate for Duval School Board District 2