While there are few things as satisfying as a well-conceived and well-timed complaint about the injustice of this or that, there are also few things that are more unproductive. Right now, our American system of public education is at a crisis point. It is because they believe there is an absence of effective leadership in education that business and political leaders have entered the fray and are using all of their power and influence to fix what they believe to be a dysfunction educational system.
If that were not sufficiently scary, these corporate and government reformers are proposing what they believe to be sweeping educational reforms without taking the time to understand the problems of public education in America, in all of its complexity. They believe that if only we would run our schools as effectively as they run their businesses it would transform public education.
These powerful Americans are charging forward on what I like to call “the runaway train of misguided educational reforms” and the train is racing toward disaster for American public schools and for American children.
All the complaining that teachers, other professional educators and their advocates have done has had no perceptible impact on slowing, let alone stopping these misguided reforms and that reality will not change no matter how high we raise our voices.
One of the principles of positive leadership, as outlined in my book The Difference Is You: Power Through Positive Leadership is that effective people rarely complain. Instead, they propose positive solutions designed to produce better outcomes. Like the laws of physics, the powerful force of misguided educational reforms can only be countered by a positive force of equal or greater power.
I call upon educators at every level to come together in support of a blue print to reinvent education in America. It is a blue print that takes the time to understand how children learn and what teachers need in order to teach effectively. It is a proposal designed to give teachers the resources that they need to do the best job of which they are capable. It is a proposal to shift the focus away from standardized testing and away from failure to one in which children can learn how to be successful and how to master subject matter in a positive, nurturing environment. It is a plan to pull parents into the educational process as full partners with their children’s teachers because it is only through such partnerships that the motivation to learn can be inspired, nurtured, and sustained. Finally, it is a blue print for strengthening rather than severing the critical bond between schools and the communities they exist to serve.
This blue print for transforming education in America and countering the misguided efforts of corporate and government reformers is presented in my book, Reinventing Education, Hope, and the American Dream: The Challenge for Twenty-First Century America. It is a proposal that lays out a very specific plan of action with 33 action strategies to give our nation’s children the future that they deserve and that our nation so desperately needs.
Professional educators at every level and venue are urged to take the time to review this positive proposal for action.