Thursday, September 15, 2011

Rebounds and possibilities

Well hi.
So it's been a little while since I last wrote. Apparently, students are back in school and it has kept me insanely busy. Hit the jump for a quick update and thoughts that will be fleshed out in a series of posts over the next month

All right. This will be quick because there's lots to do these days.
First - thanks for hearing me gripe last post. It's not often I do it - but sometimes you gotta expel the junk.
Second - here are my follow up thoughts on how to make the role of educator better and the DoE more efficient. I'll flush these out in later posts, but would love to hear your feedback or additions if you have them.

DoE back office - I actually thought Cathy Black was a smart choice for working in the DoE - as long as she managed the back office and centralized offices. She was not a good choice for being the face of education - we needed someone else - Walcott seems to be doing okay on that front. It should be a system like having both President and Prime Minister. The two work together to create a cohesive whole.

Honor the teacher - we need to figure out ways to constantly grow the role of teacher as we grow in experience. One thing that's weird about education is you have the same responsibilities day one as you do year twenty. How can the fundamental role of educator grow over the years?

UFT and DoE need to start capitalizing on the things they agree on. The politics are incredibly divisive and discouraging for educators... so let's start taking a positive approach instead of the negative.

Teaching colleges. The prices and requirements are simply insane. I've read articles (I'll look for them) showing many of these schools are the cash cows of a university. One thought is to limit tuition to a % of the local educator's salary. Also, the Teaching Fellows programs are highly successful at getting people into schools while getting a Masters at a low low price. Let's investigate it further. Also, what about repealing the MA requirement for "highly qualified teachers" - studies show there is no correlation between having an MA and being considered highly qualified. No Child Left Behind paved the way for teaching colleges to make tons of money.

Have a forum for teachers on the DoE site - why is there no community space for educators to discuss tactics, strategies, and curriculum? Yes, there will be trolls - but a successfully moderated site (or other online presence) could be a great panacea for the isolated teacher.

Change the vacation schedule. Two months for a summer break is killer on the continuity of educating children. Instead of playing catch up in September, why not make learning a continual process?

There are more... buuuuut I did say this was going to be quick. There's a lot of issues with the way education is handled in America... so bring on the ideas

1 comment:

  1. Have you read the September 2011 Smithsonian magazine article on Finland's public school system? Very interesting read.
    As for no summer break, I think that depends on reducing the number of students for whom a teacher is responsible. I really love my kids, but this level of activity throughout the year would burn me out in less than two years. If I had only half as many at a time, I could do more with them, with lower stress, and make it a year-round thing.