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Monday, February 21, 2011

Who Should We Listen To For School Reform?

From the Education Stormfront blog:

Who Gets To Be An Education Reformer?

As the public Education Reform battle heated up last year I watched from the sidelines.  I work at a private college and as of yet have no children, so I have no dog in the fight as they say.  Movies such as Waiting for Superman, and business leaders such as Bill Gates all drew attention to education in the US.
What has amazed me as I watch, is the amount of vitriol being directed at people who are not “education reformers”.  I see this on twitter all the time, where an article comes out and people rip the author to shreds.  Not their argument mind you, just the person.  Somehow, unless you work in public education are you disqualified for having any ideas about reforming education?
It’s this arrogance that worries me.  Let’s look at the “official players” in education reform shall we?
1. Teachers – If teachers don’t buy into education reform, it will fail, period.  They have to be involved.
2. Parents – They can make a lot of noise at the schoolboard meetings but in the end they have very little say.
3. Students – They are treated much the same way as cattle at a dairy.  Nobody asks a cow if it wants to get milked right?
4. Government – They control the money so in the end they control the system.  What is weird here is over half the people in the US congress are lawyers. What do they know about education?  Of course they don’t have to if the teachers unions tell them what to do.
5.  Teachers Unions – They are a powerful force in education reform, mostly because of their political donations.  I list them separately from teachers though, mostly because their first priority is clearly not to have students learn better, it’s to have more teachers and get them paid more.  (this is not a bash on unions btw, they are good at this job)
So that’s it right?  Nobody else can have any ideas on how to reform the education system?
If you restrict the amount of players in the game, you will restrict the kind of reform ideas you will get too.  Everyone does what is in their self interest.  That’s a fact.  That makes every single entity on this list biased in some way.   They will propose reforms that help them out but may not be the best idea overall.
Here’s my idea.  How about we listen to everyone?  The Internet allows anyone to make their voice heard so let them speak.  If you don’t like the idea say why and make a counter argument, don’t just dismiss the person who had the idea.
I think that since education affects everyone, everyone should have a voice in how it works, not just a self proclaimed “elite”.
Are you a person who battles in the realm of ideas or do you refuse to engage with certain people?
‘It’s amazing what ordinary people can do if they set out without preconceived notions.’ – Charles F. Kettering

1 comment:

vamoe said...

Thanks for this post.

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