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We need you! The old military recruitment slogan is coming back, but this time it is an army of teachers that we need.

For too long, education change has been brought about by legislatures and non-educators, but the time has come for teachers' voices to join together and lead the charge in calling for educational change. Students in America need your voices to be heard and the time is now.

Equity in education is needed to meet the needs of all students, all communities, and all cultures. To bring this change in equity throughout the educational system, we need our teachers to share their expertise with the public, administrators, school boards, and each stakeholder involved with education. Teachers bring unique knowledge and vision needed to guide all things pertaining to our schools. Their voice is essential in developing student-focused curricula, creating effective schedules, designing innovative new learning spaces, and the efficient operations of every school.

We need teachers to speak up about the inequity of state-mandated testing and how it is affecting our students. We must listen to teachers when they call for help with students' social and emotional issues that widen the gap between the haves and have-nots. It is the teachers in our country who can bring the changes toward educational equity in every individual school.

Teachers are eager to help, from the newest first-year teachers to the career veterans; all have diverse knowledge bases that are critical to the discussion. For too long, the voice of the teacher has been ignored, but it is time for a drastic shift. Teachers understand what equity should look like in our classrooms and how to achieve it.

We also need our teachers to speak up for diversity in our schools through curriculum, culture, and communication. Teachers of all backgrounds bring diverse ideas to our profession which benefit all children in our increasingly diverse student population. Just as one size fits all no longer works in the classroom, nor should there be only one path toward teaching certification as we look to expand and diversify the teaching work force. We must understand why current certification policies restrain teacher diversity and how this, in turn, holds back certain populations, especially at-risk students from considering teaching as a profession.

A drastic change in the educational system has been needed for too long. We must act today.

Teachers, together our voice and our leadership can move the needle and provide the changes needed for our educational system to enter the innovation era. Our students need you.

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John Unger of Siloam Springs is the Decatur Middle School Alternative Learning director/teacher for grades 5-8. He has an education specialist degree from Arkansas State University and a master's in education from LSU-Shreveport.

Editorial on 08/22/2019

Print Headline: JOHN UNGER: Calling all teachers

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