I love that there is a lot of talk about education. Maybe it is just me, but it seems to be everywhere. Although I must admit our Presidential candidates aren’t talking about it yet. But our President has used education as a focal point in State of the Union speeches and the recent speeches to prevent the rate hike for student loans. He has created a lot of controversy with his programs and many demonize Arne Duncan as if he is putting cocaine in baby bottles. The Republican primary did have candidates talking a little here and there about education. They too had all the answers. Just abolish the Department of Education-how simple is that?
So what are the answers? There are constant reminders that STEM education is very important. We have big companies talking and spending money to advertise to promote STEM education. We have 46 states that approved the Common Core State Standards, which is a good thing, although I do think trying to change a group of people adverse to change has its issues. It will happen. We have less emphasis on the high stakes testing since the president has allowed states to apply for a waiver of the requirements to conform to No Child Left Behind (am I delusional on this one?). We are constantly reminded either by the President or his representative and the many oil company commercials that we as a nation have fallen behind. I am guilty of continuous reference to this fact myself. People hate the testing and we have created a nation of stressed out kids, “Race to Nowhere.” Or those who are sill “Waiting for Superman.” Educators speak with passion for whatever their belief…tests, no tests, arts, no arts, rote learning, experiential learning. Should we focus on design and right brain thinking? What about the great detail-oriented left-brainers? Many there are really just no-brainers…
Things we need to accept:
- What worked 50 years ago won’t work today. I will buy that one.
- Public education should have a global perspective.
- Change begins with one step at a time. Don’t try to change everything at once. Start small, think big.
- Don’t be afraid to do things differently. Open your eyes and better yet, open your mind.
- There is a lot of talk. Time for action and no more excuses. Stop focusing on “how we do it” and make a difference. (This one really drives me nuts!)
- Use technology as a tool. Don’t be intimidated by it or think it is the total answer. It is a tool, and a good one.
- Open the door. It’s your party and the future will always look different so don’t let that intimidate you.
Teachers are good. Teachers are bad. Support teachers. Give teachers back the control. How do you know? It is really important to well educate the next generation.
What do I think? Some teachers are good and some are not so good. It is not different from anything else. The quality is not equal. Teaching styles differ. Learning styles differ. It is a human endeavor and it is not perfect. Maybe that is the truest thing I have said.