Sunday, October 3, 2010

Public Education Today

I am or have been the following: parent, grandparent, teacher, school administrator, school board member, small business owner, and life long learner. These are my qualifications to give a view of public education in America. I believe many individuals and groups offering opinions have an ulterior motive for the view they share. I also believe there is and has been for a number of years a group or number of groups in America trying to privatize education. Their reasons are varied and for many they are self serving. Let’s leave that for another writing.

It appears, if you can believe the media, public education in America has failed and must be replaced with some type of system that runs education as a business. The belief that is being touted is that if a school is making money then they obviously know what they are doing and are doing it well. If not, they are a failure and need to close shop. Although this movement has been gaining strength for a number of years, I believe the coming election in America has given politicians and private business groups the platform they have been looking for to launch a major attack on public education. A well planned media blitz including the movie “Waiting for Superman”, NBC’s Education Nation, along with major news magazines, and TV personalities jumping on the band wagon campaigning for moving away from public education and looking to the private sector to be the savior of our children’s education.

You might think I would be excited to see the likes of Grassroots Education Movement (GEMHYC) with there video “The Inconvenient Truth Behind Waiting for Superman”. Not so. Although many of the individuals, I believe, are very sincere, there may be hidden agendas there also. Unfortunately the politics of education runs very deep and we must look carefully at all sides of this issue.

Public education in America has been one of the major factors behind our rise to a leadership role in the world today. Are there problems in public education? Yes. Do we need to see major changes in public education? Yes. Do we abandon public education in America and move in another direction? No. The New Yorker magazine published an article recently that is much more in line with my thinking. The writer states, “In education, we would do well to appreciate what our country has built, and to try to fix what is undeniably wrong without declaring the entire system to be broken.” Also consider the post on the blog Schools Matter with an article written my Stephen Krashen. The financing of public schools in America certainly plays a critical role in improving public education. Maybe the crisis in American is over blown. Give it some thought. Yes, Finland has a fine education system in place but take a look at the homogeneous make-up of that country. Now compare it to the ethnic and cultural make-up of the melting pot of the world. A huge difference wouldn’t you say? Do you think this might make a difference in test scores being ripped by the proponents backing the move to privatize our public schools?

The solutions to the problems of public education in America will not come easily or quickly. There is no simple fix but there is a plethora of exciting changes taking place in classrooms around the world that will bring about needed changes to improve the lives and education of our precious children, the future decisions makers and leaders of our planet. We in education are the solution! Wake up teachers and educators! With the technology available today, a passion for learning, and an enthusiastic, positive attitude we can make the difference one classroom at a time. Yes, entire school systems may change but it will be the result of a spark provided by one individual. Collaborating with others in our field is so easy today and so necessary if we are to make the critical changes to save public education. I offer the following educators as proof that this is already happening: George Couros, Edna Sackson, Kelly Tenkely, Kevin Jarrett, Vicki Davis, Kathleen McGeady, Pernille Ripp, Chris Wejr, Paul Fuller, Karen Ditzler, Jenny Luca, Richard Byrne, Tom Barrett, Lee Kolbert, Dean Shareski, Tania Sheko, Cory Plough, Silvia Tolisano, Angela Maiers, Karyn Keenan, Jason Bell, Shannon Miller, Kelly Hines, Beth Still, Colette Cassinelli, and Sue Waters.
Are you ready to make your contribution to improving education? Let’s start with your classroom. The educators listed above are leading the way and would love to have you on board for this exciting journey of improving education one classroom at a time.

1 comment:

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