You know, there are a handful of things that drive me nuts. Okay, fine, maybe more than a few. But in regard to #EdReform, there are a few. When talking about #EdReform, some folks feel compelled to either brag or complain about the school that they attended…in the 80s. Right, Men Without Hats was awesome and your school was not. We get it. Or, Debbie Gibson was the worst, but your school rocked. Fine. #EdReform is not the time for out of context discussion and what ifs–no, really, I can help…since I have no idea what goes on in the classroom, I’ll be a good out of the box thinker. No, you will not. Go get us some chips.
The fact that we have to talk about #EdReform is a sad day. There should be no enjoyment of the rallies and no late-night laugh-fests about the problems we are having. We are not reminiscing about the old days. We are discussing a system that is broken. Sadly and sorely and perhaps irreparably broken. And we are the ones who can fix it. Teachers.
I mentioned this to @tshreve in response to a post on Twitter. “The fact that education is the solution does not mean that it is (or was ever) the problem.” Educators are the ones who hold the solutions to the issues in education right now. I do not say that to be separatist, but it is we who need to get our house in order so we are able to return it to its rightful place.
Unfortunately, there are many who are making their living off of criticizing education. Sheisters, chancers, and ne’er-do-wells who parade around in teachers’ clothes claiming that they have the insights and solutions that are needed. Gary Stager’s comment that “unqualified is the new qualified” is terrifyingly true–and we wonder what went wrong!!! It is trendy to by “untainted” by “teacher school.” That is a sad statement.
If we want real reform, we have to begin with what is most important–in no order: kids, teachers, schools. The focus of our energy, the conductor of that energy, and the context of that interaction.
Let us make the decision to keep it simple. Quality #EdReform is not performed by swinging the pendulum to the opposite side. It is not performed by those who have a monetary stake in the game. It cannot be “won” but it must be fought for. It cannot be ignored.
I have a belief that the knowledge that I need exists among the people whom I teach on any given day of the week. As a teacher, it is my job to draw that knowledge out and to facilitate the meaningful construction of that knowledge. It takes some faith, I know–this approach has served me well. I have the same belief about our #EdReform needs. Everything that we need and every resource that we have already exists. We must come together to draw it out and construct it. We need the faith of those with the power to support these efforts. What school, district, or state would be willing to give a busload of committed educators the reins to their schools? Let’s do it.
Who’s with me?