Most days, it feels as if the only people who get to have a dream about wonderful schools are those who aren't actually working in schools.


A new film tells the real, and often heartbreaking, story of one school in Phoenix, twenty teachers, a dedicated principal--and how they collectively decided to improve the one thing they had control over: teaching.


What did you used to think about school reform? And what do you think now?


Beneath all the rhetoric about giving clueless local boards too much agency there's something very disturbing--a whiff of we-know-better, managerial arrogance. As a teacher, I'd rather take my chances on electing people I know.


Good teaching is not about classroom rules, cute videos, raising test scores, cool field experiences or unions. It's about relationships, mastery, analysis, persistence, diagnosis and continuous reflection. It's complex, layered intellectual work. And it happens in hundreds of thousands of "regular" classrooms, every day.


I never used to believe in Great Education Conspiracy theories--that dark forces were trying to shoot enough holes in the ship of public education to make it sink, whereupon a huge market for materials production and human capital would open up. Lately, I've been pretty sure that's exactly what's happening, beginning in places like Detroit.


Blurring the lines between private enterprise, market-based policy-making and genuine investment in public education.


Teachers use clipboards, imagination--and good instruction--to get over some very high bars. So much for the myth of lazy, uncaring unionized teachers.


The idea of hiring free-lance "teacherpreneurs" is thrilling to management types. But how does privatizing look, down the road?


Ten out-of-the-ordinary bits of advice for new teachers.


The opinions expressed in Teacher in a Strange Land are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.

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