Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Schools Verdict: Guilty (Just Not as Charged)

I could go on and on about the incredible teaching I see every day at my school.

But what about the bad stuff? What about the devastating criticisms launched steadily at my profession by all walks of people?

Here's my evaluation on the state of public education, based on what I've seen so far:

Yes, teachers are often encouraged to conform, and loyalty to the system appears to be rewarded over fresh thinking about the system. However, this is also true for corporate America: The easiest way to fail at a company is to walk in and question current management, rock the boat, or try and chip away at the status quo.

Where innovation flourishes is just where it should: In the classroom, as expressed by passionate and creative teachers. Every single day, in schools across this nation.

It's also true that longevity is rewarded, often first and foremost. This is also exactly the case in the corporate world. Starting with firm partners, there's always a clear organizational hierarchy starting at the top with those who've put in the most time.

This is because people who have been there the longest, in schools and in companies, typically know the most. No rocket science needed to figure this one out.

My biggest indictment of schools? Our loss of control regarding our own destiny. The teachers and administrators around me are the experts, but we are forced to defer to politicians who've never stepped foot in a classroom as a teacher.

The problems I see in schools are not inherent; rather, they are imposed, ironically, in the name of solutions from outsiders who could would lose their minds if they tried to teach my rowdy fourth period freshmen for a week straight.

Yes, we are guilty. just not of what the public, politicians and experts so often convict us of.

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