Rosanne Wood

Perspectives on Education


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Thank You Scientists!

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March for Science Rally in Tallahassee, Florida

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Rosanne speaking at the Tallahassee March for Science Rally April 22, 2017. Thank you scientists!

Next month I’m getting cataract surgery- I’ve worn glasses since the 6th grade. With new multi-focal lenses, I likely won’t ever have to wear glasses again. In places like Burma, doctors are curing the blind with 20-minute cataract surgeries. -Thank you scientists.

Today I was directed here by GPS with this very small device that fits in my pocket-which is also my camera, audio book, personal stereo, international news source, instant argument solver (thank you google), my dictionary, calendar, mini-movie theater, address book and control over my hearing aids when I get them (per my daughter- it won’t be long)—Thank you scientists.

We are surrounded by the tangible and intangible outcomes produced by the meticulous work of scientists around the world. So, a big thank you from all of us!

We all have a role to play to save the planet. What should we do? For me, education is the obvious answer.  Here’s what I want:

Parents-The first time your toddler discovers that mixing water and dirt together can create a cool mud pie, I want you to celebrate your miniature scientist and nurture that sense of wonder and discovery from then on.

Teachers and Administrators-I want you to realize, that despite all the pressures for good test scores and school grades, that there IS time for developmental play/recess, field trips, science labs, thematic learning and hands-on problem solving.

Everyone-I want you to know that school and fun do not have to be antonyms; they can be synonyms. There is nothing more fun than learning how to read a book or play an instrument or do a science experiment in a lab.

I want you all to remember–Children are naturally curious and love to learn. They will persevere IF we can just refrain from draining all the joy and adventure from learning. No adult nor child likes constant grading, testing and tedious homework. School should not be about stress; it should be about challenge—and that’s what science is.

Science makes sense of the world and teaches us to question things don’t make sense. Science teaches students how to make and defend an argument based on real facts supported by evidence.

Our education system needs a make-over. Students literally have all the facts and figures that they need at their fingertips. Science education needs to start on day one of pre-kindergarten with that first mud pie or bumble bee that lands on the flower. The Scientific method which values trial and error and learning from mistakes should be at the core of our instructional methods.

Legislators and policy makers: I want you to listen to educators.  We need to have a serious talk about what does and does not work when it comes to nurturing our future scientists and mathematicians, as well as our artists and poets. We need you to use the scientific method and research how to save our public schools-It’s not rocket Science! Start by asking a teacher.

Next attract young people and working scientists to become teachers by providing a good salary. Teaching is the most noble profession; we need to treat it as such.  And if any of you out there want to become a teacher-we need you, now more than ever.

I can tell you with certainty that the path we are on now, which rewards correct answers on tests over in-depth learning is not the way forward. If we are counting on the next generation to save our planet- we need to make sure they can solve complex problems, not just answer multiple choice questions. Science is the opposite of being rewarded for the right answers; science is about asking the right questions.

My earth day t-shirt didn’t arrive on time, but here’s what it said and what I believe– NO SCIENCE, NO LIFE— KNOW SCIENCE, KNOW LIFE.

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Florida Legislature: Make Public Schools a Priority

Legislature: Make Public Schools a Priority

Public schools are the foundation of our democracy; they give all children a chance, no matter their background, no matter their zip code.

Please, legislators, make our children your first priority in your grand budget bargain.

We’re charged with providing a first class education for all, but with current budget projections, we’ll barely stay afloat. We know you can do better and the public will support you when you do.

Those of us who have children and grandchildren are awestruck by the opportunities now available in our public schools. Students today take rigorous college courses that were beyond most of our wildest dreams when we went to high school.

Now please make other dreams possible. As you know, many Florida families are facing significant challenges, and they bring those challenges with them into our public schools.

Research shows that income level is the surest indicator of success in school. Our D and F schools are not “failure factories”; they better resemble emergency centers. These schools don’t need labels; they need help.

For starters:

  • If you have $200 million to invest in “Schools of Hope” (corporate charter schools), let local school boards compete for those funds so we can create turn-around schools. We have been anxious to pilot ideas such as wrap-around services to assist families with medical and other needs. Actual resources to do this at our existing low-performing schools would be a godsend. Think globally, but please invest locally.
  • Vote for current proposals that seek relief from the over-testing of our children and the convoluted teacher evaluation system known as VAM. That would help student, teacher and parent morale immensely.
  • You’ve heard from superintendents around the state that Florida is facing an alarming teacher retention and shortage problem. Florida ranks near the bottom in average teacher salary. Treat and pay teachers as professionals and they’ll both stay and join the ranks.
  • Don’t adopt “proficiency” language that could raise the passing score once again and artificially turn hundreds more schools into D and F schools.
  • To make a lasting difference, fully fund Pre-K education. That would be an investment that would pay terrific dividends for our kids and state forever.

Please stand firm on a responsible budget for Florida’s students and families. Public schools need your support more than ever; don’t forsake them in their hour of need.

Rosanne Wood represents District 2 on the Leon County School Board. This piece represents her personal opinion and not that of the school board.

Tallahassee Democrat My View, April 30, 2017


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“Assignment of School Grades Arbitrary and Capricious”

Without the inclusion of learning gains, said Rosanne Wood, retired principal of SAIL High School, “these grades say more about zip codes than about how much students learned after they walked in the door.”

While SAIL often earned an “A” under the accountability system, Wood, a longtime critic of the school grading system, still describes school grades as “arbitrary and capricious.”

“One day your school is a D, the next day it is a B,” she said. “The only thing that changed were some arbitrary lines in the sand, drawn by folks who have no idea whether the school is a good one or not.”


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Rosanne Wood is running for Leon County School Board

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I hope you have heard by now that I am running for the Leon School Board in the 2016 election. I’ll be running for the seat in District 2, currently held by Dee Crumpler, who does not intend to run again.

I decided to run because I feel compelled to do something to help our public schools. I plan to draw upon my 36 years of experience as both a teacher and principal at SAIL High School to make every school a place where all students, parents, and staff members feel valued and respected.

  • I will advocate for policies that value learning more than test scores.
  • I will ensure that every dollar spent supports the needs of our students.
  • I will be an engaged school board member and a strong partner in the leadership of the district.
  • I will seek out innovative solutions inside and outside of Tallahassee to solve some of our toughest problems.
  • I will work to forge partnerships with the community to help us close our achievement and opportunity gaps.
  • I will insist on clear policies for ethical conduct in all facets of the school system.

I want to make a real difference for our children. I believe I bring the experience, leadership, and integrity that are required. I hope you agree. If you want to get involved or donate to the campaign, go to RWOOD.NET and like me on Facebook Rosanne4SchoolBoard.

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