In some off-line responses to yesterday’s post, I was challenged to suggest an alternative course of action for the teacher labor movement to the attack on public education by so-called reformers. That’s certainly a fair request, so here goes.
The various constituencies that exist in the world of public education are as divided as they can possibly be, even though most agree that public education is endangered and that children are being tested to distraction while their exposure to a rich curriculum is getting narrower and narrower. As I see it, the issue for all of us who believe deeply in public education and the kind of society that it enables is are we up to the challenge of putting aside the issues that divide us to focus our united attention on retaking the public education agenda from those who use the Trojan horse of reform to undermine the very institution they claim to be seeking to fix?
If we are, we will find a way to bring together, union leaders, superintendents, building administrators, parents and all believers in public education in a grand coalition to push back against reforms that seek to evaluate teachers by giving them a public number rating and imprison children in schools that test-prep into permanent boredom through corporate produced programs that regiment teaching and learning – reforms that do nothing to address rising childhood poverty or school funding formulas that deprive some children of adequate educational resources.
Some preliminary conversations I have had with leaders from these constituencies encourages me to believe that such a coalition is possible. I will be having much more to say about this in future posts. For now, if you can see yourself playing a part in such an endeavor, be in touch.