WHOM DO WE FOLLOW, we educators who are responsible for the precious futures of America’s children, and thus the future of our country? Who speaks for teachers? Who speaks for the children? What are the fundamental responsibilities that guide educators? Do Associations and Unions represent children and education, or just ‘labor’? Does the US Department of Education speak for the profession, or current political ideologies? Do the 50 State Departments of Education speak for educators and children or political meddlers, religious extremists, and profiteers?
THE ANSWER: No group or even a single voice guides us as educators. We assume we have guidelines, but they are not clear and there is no consequence for violating them. There are no national standards that guide America’s responsibility to her children. That explains why educators find their profession and public education torn apart and millions of children deprived of their shot at the American Dream. Lack of leadership of, by, and for educators, which is focused on the needs of children, allows nation-destroyers, hiding behind corporate veils, to access our tax dollars for their profits, never for kids.
I have heard teachers comment that it took five or more years of teaching before they began to see the overall picture of how their district’s educational programs, in all disciplines, serve children. After ten or twenty years, those few who see beyond their classroom and their school – who master an overview of our American educational system – emerge as leaders. Too often the administrators they work for/with lack that level of understanding and continue top-down, coercive management which defeats leaders who can effect change and protect children from experimentation. Some leaders move to universities where they try to teach future educators about how children are best served. A few become educational historians and writers who communicate with educators, hoping WE will protect children.
Think of the wonderful gifts of insight DIANE RAVITCH shares with us in her books and in her blogs. If you don’t read Diane, you are part of the problem! There are leaders. There are too few followers. Children and Americans are being damaged. Our lack of professional responsibility explains the educational chaos we are experiencing.
Educational leaders emerge, but their insights and wisdom do not shape educational policy. No one draws a line that politicians, corporations, religious zealots, and cult-nuts may not cross. A line the nation-destroyers may not cross. A line that sets a minimal standard that protect children and PRESERVES EVERY CHILD’S RIGHT TO A COMPREHENSIVE, INTERDISCIPLINARY, CURRICULUM-BASED, FACT-BASED EDUCATION. If every educator, every parent, protected that right, we would not have the wolves at educations door.
To better understand where we are, how we got this way, and where we need to go, also read: Vital Lies: The Irrelevance Of Our Schools In The Information Age. It is written as a format for national dialogue. MillennialBooks.com (download only). One of the top 5 best books for parents and educators.