Levers of change in public education

If you could sit down with some of the best classroom teachers in America and ask them what they would do (or want done) to improve public education in the U.S., wonder what they might tell you?

I’ve had that privilege on several occasions; one was as co-author of a book on the future of teaching in America.

In case you haven’t yet read our book, TEACHING 2030: What We Must Do for Our Students and Our Public Schools Now and in the Future, here’s an important slice of what we see as important steps forward in American public education.

  • REengage the public – To help them embrace 21st-century teaching and learning and invest in a results-oriented profession.
  • REthink school finance – To ensure equity and require partnerships across districts, universities, community-based organizations, and social and health agencies.
  • REdefine teacher preparation – To focus on better preparation and performance assessments to determine who is ready to teach, when, what, and where.
  • REframe accountability – To focus on not just who is doing well, but why, and what needs to be done next.
  • REcalibrate working conditions – To ensure teachers can teach effectively in teams.
  • REdesign teacher unions as professional guilds – To enforce high standards among its members and to broker the skills of teacherpreneurs, locally and globally.

Since we put those thoughts together in our book, I’ve been encouraged to hear similar ideas coming from many and varied quarters in the education community. I believe we are coming quickly to a watershed moment in public education, at which we will see a critical change from within, rather than our historically reactive or defensive posture.

Anybody else seeing this trend, and what are your hopes or concerns about it?