I have been thinking about what this post would look like for some time, now. Last spring I was on my way to a conference and I happened to tune into an interview with Diane Ravitch. At the time she was promoting her new book, The Death and Life of the Great American School System. I found myself interested and listening intently to how she responded to different questions and how she reflected on her experiences as Assistant Secretary of Education.
Having been a teacher and then an instructional coach during the NCLB era, her words rang true to me. It was difficult to stand up and do what was right for kids when state and district mandates were so rigid. It was difficult to have conversations when data was looked at as the bottom line. We did not use data to inform our instruction, rather it drove our instruction. It was not one piece to better understanding our students and what their needs were, it was the only piece. In her book, Ravitch reveals that she, too believed in a movement that ensured children mastered the basic skills of reading and mathematics. However she went on to discuss how she became disillusioned, realizing NCLB focused more on generating higher test scores.
Today I had the opportunity to listen to Ravitch speak at a lecture in Tucson. I was hoping to be inspired and freed by the truth. Instead I began to realize we are on a Road to Nowhere. We know that NCLB was not good for kids, it was destructive. And Race to the Top is just continuing down the same catastrophic path. We know what is right for kids, for education, yet we continue to accept reform that undermines quality education.
I guess I have been stuck inside my own little world, impacting a few teachers at a time. Ravitch’s lecture made me realize that I am part of the problem. I let reform happen. I know it is wrong. I know what’s right for kids, but I just accept it, right or wrong. Well if we are going to change the face of education, we need to stand up and advocate for what we know is right. We need an Education Revolution. Will you join me and stand up for education? Stand up for what we know is right for kids?