seriously?

September 15, 2010

This morning I went to NBC’s Education Nation  http://www.educationnation.com/ to check out the plans for the summit that is going to help us ‘reinvent America as an Education Nation. I am particularly interested in the forum for teachers in this summit- the Teacher Town Hall.  To participate in the live, exclusive conversation, first teachers need to apply.  My fav part of the application:

Share your big idea!

Please suggest one major change that you think could help to transform education in America.  Please keep your answers short.  (100-200 words max.)

We will select a few big ideas to discuss during the Teacher Town Hall.

Seriously? I appreciate the outreach, but, um, are they looking for ideas or soundbytes?  *Sigh* more of the same media hoopla.  But… in an effort to engage…  I will play along.

Here’s a big idea to improve education (in less than 200 words):

First, trust teachers. Then— stop crying crisis and join in to support them to be the best possible teacher for the kids with whom they work.

Outside of schools: invest in infrastructure to eliminate inequities that negatively impact learning— do all children have adequate food, shelter, housing, clothing and safe places to play? If not, take a good hard look at why and fix it.

Inside of schools: re-align standards with the continuum of human development and brain science then support teachers to develop skills and competence of individuals. Support teachers to develop open curriculum with scope, not sequence. Assess skills and competencies of individual learners to support further learning. Eliminate punitive measures, period. They don’t work. Evaluate teachers and programs on effectively supporting growth to developmentally appropriate targets.

And while you are in schools to evaluate them, look around— while there are definitely classrooms, schools and even whole districts experiencing significant struggle at the moment, there are also classrooms, schools and even whole districts with a whole lot of fabulous going on.  Identify the bright spots and build from there.

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