I worry that teacher leadership is being commodified--that teachers with exceptional talents in instruction, curriculum development, mentoring, analyzing district politics and influencing decision-making will not be seen as leaders unless they have a title or a stipend. I worry even more about how formal teacher leaders are "chosen"--just whose water they're expected to carry.
It's a scenario that's been posited before, many times: If you could start over--no residual assumptions--and build an ideal school from the ground up, what would you keep? What would you discard? Thoughts: There are no silver bullets, but there are no fatal-flaw structures or technologies, either. When you come down to it, schools are mostly about getting the right people together.
It's not exactly clear what the Reimagine Learning network will do with the $50 million start-up cash. Their mission: "Making a difference in the lives of millions of students who may be marginalized or disengaged in school because of learning and attention issues or social emotional issues." That's a lot of scratch dedicated to letting students with "issues" discover their own power and uniqueness. And here's the thing--I don't know many teachers who aren't doggedly working toward that very end already.
Playing outside in warm clothing, using sleds and snow toys--with follow-up hot chocolate-- represented a special treat to the children at Palmer Park Academy in Detroit, courtesy of a dedicated teacher and her kind-hearted friends and colleagues. But--the children in her class deserve free play and a refreshing drink every day, year-round, as part of best pedagogical practice for very young children. The research on this is iron-clad.
The Gap of All Gaps: How ESEA/NCLB Reauthorization Makes the 'Purpose Gap' More Visible and More Painful
The purpose of education in the United States in 2015 is not clear or shared despite all pretension otherwise.
If teachers are ever going to establish themselves as fully professional, they will need to develop an authentic, very public voice and vehicles to advocate for their professional interests and control over their own work. What did the teachers in one state believe were the core reasons for apparent teacher apathy, compliance and unwillingness to speak out against destructive policies and practices?
There's a reason why we are now experiencing an all-out assault on one of America's best ideas--a free, high-quality, fully funded, fully public education for every child. It takes a compliant work force, people fearful of losing the low-paying jobs they love, who will put down their heads and do as they're told.
The essential truth about men and women in leadership roles: It's "normal" for men to hold most high-profile leadership positions, normal for women to be grateful for special recognition, normal for folks to be indignant or confused about gender bias. Aren't we beyond all that? Gender bias is so endemic, so deeply and subtly woven into American society, that most of the time, it goes unrecognized.
Why are the nonprofit CEOs, thought leaders, big names in ed tech and on social media, best-selling authors, administrators and bosses in education so overwhelmingly male (and white)? How does that shape the education discourse, when the majority of mouthpieces are male? Who has the loudest voice in education policy--and why?
Jose Vilson's book reflects teacher hiring, teaching, and public education, perfectly: the most important truths emerge in the dialogue, but it's a messy and imperfect process. The qualities essential for good teaching are place-based, deeply personal and rest more on character than quantitative measures. You can't test scientifically for an outstanding educator like Jose Vilson. Thank goodness.