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Wisconsin’s teachers are impressive -- Michael Johnson

January 20, 2019 GMT

I see the voters of Wisconsin have elected their superintendent of education to be the next governor. I suspect the state is in good hands.

Fifteen years ago, I helped to select teachers to be accepted into a Japanese program where U.S. school teachers spent three weeks visiting schools and meeting education personnel in Japan. The purpose was to strengthen the bonds between the United States and Japan. To be considered for the program, the teacher candidate had to submit a plan for “bringing Japan back to the classroom.”

I had applications from Wisconsin and another northern state for which I was responsible, and read the 35 applications from the other state, first. I was impressed by their imagination and creativity. Then I read the applications from the teachers of Wisconsin. They were off the charts! They were so creative, functional and doable that I was stunned. I thought I did not read the other applications thoroughly enough, so I reread those from the other state.

No, that was not the case. It’s just that the ones from the teachers of Wisconsin were from a different galaxy. I’m a K-12 educator, and two of my colleagues who worked at the University of Colorado at Boulder has a similar impression of the quality of the applications.

Whatever Wisconsin is doing to train its teachers, it is doing the right thing.

Michael Johnson, Denver, Colorado