Monday, August 2, 2010
Random Twitter Inspired Rant
Ed reform isn't going to happen from abandoning grades or eliminating standardized testing. It isn't going to happen through a massive exodus to charters or blaming teachers and teacher's unions for every problem. Neither is blowing up the system or running away from accountability. And what will definitely not reform, rather transform, public education is the parade of non-educators selling quick, unproven fixes.
If we are serious about providing a quality education to every student, we first have to define what that quality education consists of. We have to define the mission and vision of public education. Just saying we want students to know technology or become authentic persons or score a certain of proficiency on a standardized test isn't gonna cut it. It is too broad and doesn't layout a plan for the purpose of K-12 education.
We also need pragmatic leaders, workers, more doers. There are far too many crunchy granola folks or business model, politically motivated outsiders in the game. In fact, if you haven't worked with young people, either in an after-school program, a nonprofit organization, the criminal justice system, or in K-12 education, you need to sit down and shut up. You are causing more rancor than solutions. And if you are an organization who believes that quality teachers is at the heart of miraculously improving public education, like Teach for America, then you need to be in another line or work, because of NO teacher can overcome poverty, abuse, apathy, and indifference without the resources and support from the government, the state, the district, the school, and the community. This ain't an either or thing. This is an all-hands on deck thing.
Further, we need more males and teachers of color in the classroom. Honestly, in urban areas, there are too many non-people of color in the classroom. I know that is not politically correct to say, but those students need to see faces they recognize and faces that can give them the truth in a way that is both palatable and meaningful. Not only have I seen it, I have lived it. Teachers of color are able to be mentors in ways non-teachers of color can't. For, when students see them, they see someone whose had their experiences and know the world they live in. And that makes a difference when trying to get a kid in the projects to believe in the possibilities.
I will close this rant by saying enough is enough. Let's stop fighting and talking over each other and get to the business of transforming public education. If we can't agree on how, can we at least agree to stop digging the hole any deeper? There are generations of individuals and families at stake.