Teaching is an act of service. Learning is a product of teaching. Education is the social/political system in which teaching and learning happens. If the focus of the educational system shifts from service to control or self-preservation, the system will be corrupted. Teaching would become a controlled input to manufacture learning as a measurable output.
Trying to control teaching with scripts, test prep, assumes the problems with learning can be measured with test scores. Trying to control learning with inflexible standards assumes the human mind can be standardized. Although it may be possible to standardize minds, why would anyone want to? Teachers do not want common students anymore than parents want common children.
The control approach to education is as dangerous to a child’s education as it to a local district’s budget.
It changes the reason for the school house from a place of teaching and learning to one of scripts and scores, neither of which is important to the people inside.
The education reform rhetoric belies the realities. Schools are not failing. The reality for teachers is the children in their classrooms with genuine needs, curiosities, problems, and dreams. Leaders in education such as Randi and Karen are responsible for protecting children first by representing the teachers’ voices, not to manipulate the message with robo calls in eleventh hour. Teachers’ voices have been silenced
For example, thousands of passionate children, teachers, and parents gathered from all over New York State in June of 2013 to show their united stand against Cuomo, Pearson, and the reformers. Then Randi screamed, “AND I SUPPORT THE COMMON CORE,” into the microphone. The gathered thousands froze in disbelief. And just like Ralphie in A Christmas Story after Santa tells him “You’ll shoot your eye out…” the collective spirits of the crowd were pushed down the slide with a boot to the forehead. Christmas in June was ruined.
The recent Time magazine cover depicted a gavel ready to crush a shiny new apple and 100,000 people signed a petition. The reasons for outrage over “bad teachers” is shared by teachers. Crushing the profession with well-funded attacks on tenure, unions, and schools with poor test scores will not fix the school house. It will perpetuate the negative system of control imposed by those without children in the school house. Service to children is the singular reason for everyone in education to act.
The actions needed are scary to many teachers and administrators because they fear losing the opportunity to do what they love and what they feel they were born to do. The irony is not acting will hasten what they fear. The steps for change require leadership to stand up for children, not just sit down with those in politics and business. Money accepted from grants will not protect children from the push to remove local control of districts.