There is growing frustration among educators regarding the direction, or lack thereof, in regards to a serious reform effort for the public education system in the United States. In fact, some would suggest that we, the educators, are the problem. When you think about it, can you argue against the fact that people who are charged with leading America’s schools and classrooms have given in to the concept that a standardized test/curriculum and “high stakes testing” are the solution.
Will Richardson summed up the frustration pretty clearly with his post today How Can You Not Be Angry? He summed up the whole frustrating scenario clearly stating:
“As a community, we’re in a fight, whether we like it or not, yet we seem more inclined to figure out Google+ than to make our voices heard to the policy makers who seem to have no desire to figure out what’s best for our children and care more about their re-election campaigns.”
I can’t help thinking about in the terms of an analogy with fast food. The education of our children is like a long road trip where we have options in regards to nourishment. Will we make the easy choice and go with the convenient option of drive-thru windows and chains that offer unhealthy short-term fixes and come up short in regards to long term sustenance. Or will we put in the extra effort to do what we know is best for our children by planning healthy options which support their physical well being.
Now, I ask the same question in regards to the intellectual health of our children. Will we take the easy way out and test them with low-level tests that have nothing to do with preparing them for long-term success? On second thought, I shouldn’t ask questions that have already been answered. I guess the modified question is how long will we take the easy way out?
If you feel change is needed I encourage you to check out the video above which was posted on Angela Maiers’ blog post NCLB – Our Call to Action. Lisa Nielsen has also created a Reform NCLB Wiki where we can share our thoughts on this topic and consolidate all of our reform ideas in one place. While skepticism abounds due the endless conversations in Washington and across the country which ignore and/or disregard the voice of educators, we need to remember that this is about our students and not take it personally. What other options do we have?
In conclusion, I would ask our friends from other countries to chime in with their thoughts on what is working in their public schools. I know there are some exciting things happening in parts of Canada. Please help our kids get the schools they deserve!