One teacher challenges the politicians and policymakers to practice what they preach and create structures that emphasize the values they want for their own children: less high-stakes testing and more teacher support top the wish list.
My wish for 2012 is that there will be no more education policy doublespeak.
It will no longer be acceptable for policymakers to say that they respect and value teachers—who are the most important factor in the education of our children—and then enact policies that fail to adequately train, support, and retain teachers.
It will no longer be acceptable in the education policy world to claim to value teacher leadership and teacher voice on policy issues—and then not utilize their input in crafting policies designed to improve education. It will no longer be acceptable to say that teachers should be well-compensated professionals—and then invest millions in new tests, data systems, and scripted “teacher-proof” curricula, rather than writing policies that make teaching into a real profession.
It will no longer be acceptable to say we should have less high-stakes testing because high-stakes testing is inappropriate for children—and then continue to make the stakes higher. It will no longer be acceptable to say that teachers should work in teams and colloborate professionally for the benefit of students—and then create policies that have teachers in the same building compete for bonuses for raising test scores, or pit schools that serve similar populations against one another over test scores, which discourages the sharing of best practices.
It will not be acceptable to say that our nation’s children need a well-rounded education—and then allow arts programs to be cut or non-existent across the country, including in cities like New York, famous for its arts and music.
It will no longer be acceptable for education policymakers to select schools for their own children that emphasize critical thinking, discussion, project based learning, and the arts, schools that celebrate and trust their expert, veteran teachers—and then advocate for anything less than this for children of the poor.
[image credit: litpark.com]