If you’ve spent any time reading the Radical in the past few years, you probably know that I’m your friendly neighborhood pessimist in most circumstances. There’s no “glass half full” in my world because the glass is most often shattered on the floor in the corner of the room!
That’s why Sam Chaltain’s question at Educon yesterday caught me by surprise: If you’re a pessimist, why do you keep coming back to a conference where so much optimism about what education could be is shared in session after session?
Here’s my answer:
Long story short: As a classroom teacher working in a state where regressive policies are dominating nearly every conversation about education — where tenure has been eliminated, where high-stakes, low-skill tests are used to evaluate teachers, where teacher salaries have been frozen for going on 8 years, where incentives for earning Masters degrees have been stripped from pay schedules — Educon is a place where I can still come to dream and to imagine what could be.
While I still doubt about whether or not I’ll ever see the changes advocated for by the thinkers in room after room here at SLA take hold in a scalable, systemic way given the #edpolicy quackery that governs my work, the conversations I have at Educon always leave me with a renewed sense that we CAN create something better for our kids and a renewed hope that tomorrow’s schools will be better than today’s.
Any of this make sense?