It’s Time to Get Real About Education

Teachers and school leaders are tired of being scapegoats for political ambitions and campaign talking points. We’re tired of photo ops and symbolic gestures.

It’s time we get real about education.

It’s time we recognize that concentrated poverty has adverse effects on student well-being and learning. Education reform leaders and politicians must develop a more comprehensive plan to address certain issues, such as the lack of healthy food choices in poor neighborhoods or business/job opportunities.

It’s time we recognize that the school-to-prison pipeline is really a neighborhood-to-prison pipeline. Education reform leaders and politicians must address government housing policies and policing policies.

It’s time we recognize that school leaders and teachers are not scapegoats but are the very people who sacrifice their own lives to help improve the lives of students, on a daily basis. Education reform leaders and politicians must move beyond repeating the “bad teacher” or “bad school” narrative and more towards a posture of listening more and blaming less.

It’s time we recognize that top-down bureaucratic policies tend to stifle innovation and creativity, and not foster or cultivate it. Education reform leaders and politicians must shift their focus away from “serving” as resource or content creators/curators to resource distributors based on actual bottom-up – or dare I say differentiated – demands.

It’s time to recognize that school choice and vouchers are not an actual strategy to improve neighborhood public schools. Education reform leaders and politicians must be accountable for designing policies that are developmentally appropriate and scientifically sound.

It’s time to get real about education. It’s time to have a serious conversation about the state of our neighborhoods. If the current education reform leaders and politicians cannot do so, then it’s time for them to change or leave the business of educating our students to the real experts, on the ground.

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