Something to think about…

Well my mother in law (a retired teacher) shared this article with me and of course it irritated me a little. Okay, well a lot.

Neal’s idea that our state still wants to radical reforms and that teachers are so far off their mark in what they believe they should be evaluated on. Especially Neal’s claim that teachers are too blame for this all, “Bennett’s defeat can be blamed on two forces. One is the strong word-of-mouth network that teachers operate in this state. That network was solidly behind putting a colleague in the superintendent’s seat. The other was a faction within what should have been Bennett’s conservative base. These are folks opposed to Common Core, the new curriculum and testing initiative coming to Indiana thanks to Bennett’s and Gov. Daniels’ somewhat surprising support for nationalized standards.” Really that was all? And some how she makes it sound like a bad thing that teachers wanted a teacher as superintendent.

How many times even before I was a teacher did I wish, hope and pray that the leaders in my own school board, district and higher ups making decisions spent large amounts of time in the classroom and really understood how it worked in the classroom. In my own opinion that might just be one of the biggest problems in education. There are too many non-educators/parents of school children in their respective schools making the decisions.

But I didn’t come here to really diss Neal. I think she has an agenda which I discovered after just a little ol’ google. But what I did find interesting is the comments on the article above that highlighted Finland’s education system. This is not the first time I had heard of it being stellar either. And what was presented once I decided to dig in was pretty hard to argue with.

There were specifically two parts that stuck out to me and that is the respect that being a teacher gets you. Their status is right there with doctors and lawyers and the lack of emphasis on testing. In fact, only one state mandated test at all in their education at the age of 16. I certainly do not believe that there is one magical answer. But what I do know is that there is a better answer.

Someone said to me, “I hope the field is worthy of you.” And when I heard it, it struck me. I stopped for a second and thought about it even longer. I tried to figure out what it meant because it seemed to suggest maybe another profession was suitable (and yes I know it was a compliment) but the comment was more based on the climate of education. Choosing to be in education is choosing to be placed firmly in the cross hairs of a educational society that in this moment seems in a larger scale broken.

But I do work in large scale. I work in my classroom with my students on a small scale and it works.I can’t tell you all the fancy data that says it works but I feel it in my bones which I know is not a resounding “this number says you are success and a great teacher.” But for me, it is my measure. At times, I feel hardly worthy of the profession because of the rewards I get and being able to do what I love to do. But I have said all of that before. I won’t bore you with it.

So Ms. Neal…I truly believe that you believe what you write. But I also truly believe you are mistaken. I also believe that you have an agenda and that agenda is to support the radical educational reforms that our state politicians want to write their name on because if it goes, it will go big. Even if it goes just a little it will warrant them larger paychecks with big educational firms that have nothing to do with education. So yea…I am gonna hit ignore and keep doing what I am doing.

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