By Christy Porter, Managing Editor
The Retired Teachers and School Personnel of Texas County and Wright County met Monday, June 13, with Senator Karla Eslinger as featured speaker.
Cindy Pirch, Texas County Retired Teachers and School Personnel President, welcomed members and opened the meeting with prayer, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.
Senator Eslinger shared her ongoing interest in education, as she herself was a “school lady,” as a teacher, principal, superintendent, assistant commissioner of education for the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. She also worked with the U.S. Department of Education.
Recognizing the role educators have, Eslinger said, “Teachers have a most significant impact on kids.”
“How often do the teachers, knowingly or not, impact or steer a child’s decision in a career choice?” was voiced by one retired educator.
At a local level, communities need to be aware and take responsibility for what is being taught, urged Eslinger.
She continued, “Generally a school will reflect their community and a community will reflect their school. Educating children is local work, it requires all of us to work together.”
“Those writing the textbooks are dictating what is being learned, and they’re leaving things out,” said Eslinger, when speaking of courses in Patriotism, the U.S. Constitution and basics in Civics and History.
Eslinger is committed to moving positive legislation forward for educational funding and guidelines and stopping bad legislation. As such she shared a 2022 Legislative Session update that included several items of legislation addressing education issues that passed the Senate.
There was animated and encouraging discussion between the retired teachers and Eslinger, as far as priorities being recognized, paying attention to what’s changing in the curriculum and the laws that encourage or curtail a productive education system. Reading comprehension was a topic of some concern to the educators.
They recognized the exasperation within the system as to what’s working, what’s not working and questioned what’s needed to make it work. They shared their experiences from their academic and teaching careers with educational changes and with the programs, the accomplishments and the disappointments, the sacrifices and hardships.
“Through public education all children can receive an education, we take them all. It doesn’t matter if you have money or a disability, that goes back to the foundation of our country – all children get an education,” Pirch stated.
Membership was reminded of “Call to Action” notifications from the state legislature providing information on bills that could affect them; and then were urged to contact their representatives. Brochures for the local and state MRTA organization was available for attendees.
Senator Eslinger contributed four copies of “You Can Too! Journey to the Missouri Senate: 36 women senators share their stories,” which she was a part of, to auction to membership for fundraising purposes.
Members also collected snacks and water for survival baskets given to teachers and educators, Cash for Classrooms, and food staples for area food pantries.
Photos by Winter Murray