The talk about education has shifted. When I first entered this space it was about connecting and sharing. People highlighted what was working in their classroom in the hopes others would follow suit. I was amazing each day to wake up and watch connections being made and classrooms sharing knowledge with each other.
But I don't see as much of that any more.
That isn't to say it isn't out there. Of course it is. There are still great resources being shared everyday, educators making connections and expanding the walls of the classroom. But more and more and more I hear anger. Granted, it is anger grown out of frustration but the tone of that anger has changed dramatically over the past 6 months.
I read things like "Free The Bonds of Boring Schools," or "Grades Suck" or calling people involved in education reform tyrants or terrorists and I wonder are we helping or hurting?
There are 2 sides to the Education Reform debate. Those at the national level that want to move to more school choice and charter schools and incentive pay. Then there are those that are not. The vast majority of people who disagree with Gates and Rhee and Duncan are those in the classroom every day (and who blog and use social media everyday.) Frankly, I would want someone who is in the classroom and understands education to be heading up ideas on what we should do.
There is nothing wrong with discourse. It is what makes us all smarter and helps us think critically. (After all it is what we are trying to teach our kids to do.) The problem is I hear less discussions about discourse and more just mean discourse. And it makes those that disagree with the national policies sound just bad as Rhee or Gates or Duncan.
The way I see it....
Grades aren't bad. How they are used is bad.
Standardize tests aren't bad. How they are used is bad.
Awards aren't bad. How they are used and given out is bad.
Textbooks aren't bad. How they are created and used is bad.
Teacher Incentive Pay isn't bad. How it is decided it will be done is bad.
Charter Schools aren't bad. But how they are run is bad.
So why not forget about all the rhetoric. And stop with the negativity. Focus on the good. Get back to our roots and talk about what is working and use that as a basis for change. No reason we can't challenge each other and our ideas. But maybe we can do it without the negative talk.
What do you think? Maybe I just see it differently from everyone else out there. Am I wrong? Help me wrap my mind around all of this.