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I recently read a tweet by the National Education Association's (NEA) president, Dennis Van Roekel, which brought me to this quote: "I’m so tired of OTHERS defining the solutions....without even asking those who do the work every day of their professional life."
Consider how solutions determined by others have determined the profound changes in education in the past 12 years. The legislation for No Child Left Behind (NCLB) and Common Core State Standards (CCSS), have come from stakeholders who are looking into the classroom as if they are looking through a one-way window. This one-way window prevents the sounds of education, limits other visual perspectives, and prevents dialogue with teachers. The one way also window prevents the teachers from seeing or communicating with those stakeholders who have made these changes.
This past week, in my Twitter feed, I found links to information which made me wonder, with the increasing adoption of technology in education, how might this one-way window dynamic change?
The first piece of information came from a tweet by @webenglishteach. On a recent post titled "My career by the numbers (so far)" on her Chalkboard blog, Carla discussed her retirement as an English teacher and reflected on the numbers in her educational career, for example, the number of papers she had corrected or numbers of students she taught over the course of her 32 year career. She has spent the past year with the Department of Education (DOE), and noted:
"People at the DOE like to identify themselves as teachers. 'I taught 2 years.' They’re good people, but teachers make more decisions that affect other people on Monday than someone at DOE does all week. Be proud of what we do."
The second piece of information came from a link in the article The Gates Foundation's Education Philanthropy: Are Profit Seeking and Market Domination a Public Service? tweeted by Education Week . The article comprehensively argued against the agenda of wealthy philanthropic enterprises that partner with public institutions, a public-private partnership.This article by Anthony Cody contained a link to a April 2011 article by Sam Dillon in the New York Times Foundations Join to Offer Online Courses for Schools that described how the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will be working with the textbook and testing firm Pearson:
"In his educational work, Bill Gates has explored ways that new technologies can transform teaching. Vicki Phillips, a director at the Gates Foundation, said the partnership with Pearson was part of a 'suite of investments' totaling more than $20 million that the foundation was undertaking, all of which involve new technology-based instructional approaches. The new digital materials, Ms. Phillips said, “have the potential to fundamentally change the way students and teachers interact in the classroom.”
"I’m so tired of OTHERS defining the solutions… without even asking those who do the work every day of their professional life.
I want to take advantage of this opportunity for US to lead - and I’m not waiting to be asked, nor am I asking anyone’s permission.
Because if we are not ready to lead, I know there are many others ready, willing, and waiting to do it for us. Or maybe I should say, do it 'to' us.There are plenty of people outside our profession who have their own ideas about what we should be doing, how we should be evaluated, and how to improve public education..."