Coffee, designers, and U.S. education reform

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I was reading It Comes Down to Trust over at “Celia’s reflections” and her blog entry jogged my mind in a different direction

Education is based on trust.

We all need to trust that educators and the educational system are preparing and equipping students to have the opportunity to at least as good or preferably, a better education after leaving K-12 school than the generations before did.

Is this what parents see, hear or believe is happening when their children are attending our schools today?  Sadly I don’t think so, somewhere and somehow along the way we lost their trust.  How many now see teachers to be part of the problem and do not trust them to be a part of the solution? Too many.

The educational reform movements, (there are more than one) loudly proclaim and attempt persuade everyone that our educational system is not and has not performed up to expectations (scores) or teaching to appropriate educational standards. These efforts have eroded and undermined the positive image of public educators and our educational system so much that many no longer trust teachers to properly educate their children.

After all how many students, parents, members of the public or even reformers had one or more “bad” teachers when they were in school and believe that they succeeded in spite of teachers, not because they had good teachers in every class.  Unfortunately, in my opinion that is the case and is at the heart of much of this reform movement.  This is where and why they have focused their reform efforts most recently on  “the war on bad teachers”.

That such a small proportion of people who were and maybe still are teachers, have created such negativity and had it reinforced so ably by the reform movement, that teachers cannot be trusted is a travesty.   I truly believe that the vast majority of teachers do want and are able to teach children, and work very hard for the children in their classroom to be successful learners.  Yet sadly the lingering perception has become that many teachers are not good teachers and need to be replaced.

So what are teachers doing about regaining this trust or battling against the propaganda being put out there by those who want their style of educational reform?  For the most part – we are not doing all that much.

In most instances teachers just sit back and allow others to dictate the direction of education.  Teachers are notorious for being “too busy” to get involved.  We are “trained” and at times intimidated into staying out of the political process and arenas that govern education.

Unfortunately, the educational reform proponents are well funded, placed in influential positions, are well versed in the uses of propaganda and have the ear of the media.  Their message is the one being heard, while other viewpoints are being buried or drowned out, to ensure that their reforms continue to go forward.

So what can we do?

Continue to Listen, Talk, Write, Publish, use Video, or Social Media in other words communicate about the positive things we are doing in education.  Be willing to stand up for what you believe in. Help and support teachers who want to see their students succeed, but are lacking skills to make that a reality.   There are so many other things we can do, but first we need to continue to communicate to others, that there is another side to the story that is not being listened to, much less heard.

In education today, it does come down to trust and unfortunately, education and teachers have apparently lost the trust of too many people out there.  The old saying goes “once you loose someone’s trust, it is almost impossible to get it back, without a doing a hell of a lot of work first.

Well we have a hell of a lot of work ahead of us; so let’s go.

What have you done to make a difference today?

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