Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Our Vision for Improving Public Education
At the AFT convention last week in Seattle, I outlined a vision to save public education. Our vision is:
* That every neighborhood school should be an excellent school that all families know they can count on, every year, for all of their children.
* To build on what works, and replicate it for all kids, in all schools, in all communities.
* Of schools where good teachers can work together to meet each child’s individual needs, where students develop their unique talents through a well-rounded curriculum, where all children have the support they need to reach their full potential.
* For teachers to get the necessary support to constantly improve, in an environment in which students have what they need to succeed.
That’s in sharp contract to the vision of what I call the blame the teacher” crowd, which has made some inroads among politicians and the mainstream media. Their proposed solutions inevitably come down to affixing blame – usually on teachers – rather than fixing schools. Their vision is:
* Constantly hiring tens of thousands of new teachers, leaving them to sink or swim, and then losing many of them within the first three years.
* Shutting down schools, firing all the teachers—particularly if they’re veterans—and relocating kids regardless of how it affects them or their neighborhoods.
* Constantly opening new charter schools with the hope that those that the minority of charter schools (see here and here) that succeed will somehow rub off on the many.