There are a few contingents who promote their ideas for education reform as IT. No one seems to be willing to compromise or collaborate. This includes the philosophies of charter schools, public schools, those that endorse pay for performance v. those that don’t, the use of standardized testing as the end result measurement of success, teacher’s unions, no unions, longer school days, less school days, online home school academies,and a few outliers of practical, experiential and/or project based learning. All of these groups and their followers who are very vocal and active on twitter are sure they are right.
As in many things, each of these groups has a piece of the truth. I am not sure why there is a huge fight about being right. Why can’t we collaborate and put together some reasonable idea of education reform? So many see the other side as evil, and that is ridiculous really.
Everyone should be on the same side, as I think most mean well. The future of kids, of our country lies in the balance. I think there are things on which we can all agree. For those who remain narrow-minded, it is the implementation of those goals that causes problems. One needs flexibility and follow through. So many ideas are not implemented and remain simply words and ideas.
Can we agree that:
- We need first quality teachers and instruction.
- Teachers must have the support of mentors, administration, and cutting edge technology and professional development.
- Tenure and other benefits can be negotiated and given on demonstration of effectiveness and continued accountability. Blanket tenure options and pay scales must be reviewed and individualized.
- Teacher training must be improved to take in consideration the needs and goals of a 21st century education, and programs must have a selective process for admission.
- There must be reform in the teacher certification process.
- Content Standards must reflect the real “know and be able to do” and emphasize critical thinking and problem solving skills. They should not be convoluted and be in a language that is easily accessible.
- Leadership training must be more comprehensive and selective. We need better, more dynamic leaders and a lot of them.
- We need to encourage, teach and model exemplary character in all deeds, and promote social/emotional wellness.
- We need to implement a diverse and humane form of assessment and accountability for both students and teachers.
- We need to involve community members, parents, teachers, administrators and business people in the reform process.
- Education must prepare students for career or college.
- Curriculum will include and integrate the arts for the art’ s sake and for the understanding and relationship of the arts to other academic disciplines.
- We must have STEM skills incorporated throughout public education and remove the stigma and fear associated with them. TRAIN ALL TEACHERS. GET MENTORS AND COMMUNITY PARTNERS.
- STEM/STEAM instruction will begin in Kindergarten and go through 12th grade.
- Schools must be able to maintain technology to stay competitive and prepare students for the future.
- Students must be able to communicate–READ and WRITE!
- Students must learn to work together and separately – COLLABORATE!
- Fair and equitable policies for hiring, salary, and working conditions must be maintained.
- Every school does not have to have the same mission, choice is available for parents to choose what is best for their students learning needs and abilities.
- Students must respect diversity and differences.
- Schools should create community.
- Schools must be safe.
- Schools must foster innovation and creativity through a variety of means.
I am sure I have left something out. Please comment.
How can we make this happen with unity for the benefit of children and the future?
Recent Edweek blog about Education Reform: http://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/living-in-dialogue/