Erin Thesing is a first grade teacher in one of West Philadelphia's historically lowest performing schools—Mann Elementary, a Mastery Charter School. But over the last few years, Erin's school has seen major improvements in its students' success, thanks to President Obama's investments in education.
So when Mitt Romney came to her neighborhood last week to tout his extreme record on education, our campaign talked to Ms. Thesing about what teachers and students really need to succeed.
Teachers will do whatever it takes to make sure their students have the best education possible. But at the end of theday, smaller class sizes mean that there is more time for small groups or individualized instruction, and that is game changing for learning.
As a first grade teacher, where my students sit in the classroom really matters. Which means that my class size really matters. If the class is too big, my students can't move around the room and some of them have to sit in the back or at a table on the edge of the room.
When we gather on the carpet, they have carpet spots, with space in between each other. When I teach math, I can have differentiated learning groups, which helps every student. And for reading and writing skills, I can pull kids for one-on-one conferences multiple times aweek.
My first graders are reading on 3rd and 4th grade reading levels because I have the capacity to coach them one-on-one.
All of these things all make differences in classrooms. As an educator, I am committed to doing whatever it takes. I just think that funding should be put towards improving the student's experience in the classroom, not bankrupting it.