Thursday, May 7, 2015

Stop Pretending: Five things to #makeschooldifferent

Hmm, write a blog post about five things we need to stop pretending for #makeschooldifferent, or dump a bucket of ice water over my head. That's not really the choice, but I almost wish it was. Enduring freezing water might be better than the terror of telling you all what I really think.

Okay, here is my list, and I'm resisting the urge to explain all of these in detail, but you should know that in my head I have a rant for each of them. Has anyone seen my soapbox?
  1. Stop pretending that every student is going to college, that college is the best possible outcome for all of them and that anything less than a four year degree program is some kind of failure. Start building programs that prepare students for a range of career options. 
  2. Stop pretending that all teachers are excellent, dedicated, knowledgeable, compassionate individuals, who love children. (The majority are, but not all.) Start acknowledging that some educators made the wrong career choice and help them make a better one. 
  3. Stop pretending students are going to remember the minutia they memorized this week for a test, and start building skills and concept knowledge they will apply regularly. 
  4. Stop pretending we can help teachers prepare students for the future with a few days of PD. Start investing in instructional technology coaches, collaborative curriculum design, and responsive IT support. 
  5. Stop pretending teaching is a job you can do well in 40 hours a week. Start investing more in education, hire more teachers, reduce class loads, allow more time for collaboration, instructional design, professional growth, and reflection. 
Like all good challenges going around the internet these days, this one comes with a requirement that I name five people who also have to endure the agony. This challenge came to me from Nancy Minicozzi. (See her post here.) She named Karl Lindgren-Streicher, David Theriault, Alice Chen, Moss Pike, and me. Now I've only seen a post from Alice so far, and I'm really interested in what Karl, David and Moss will have to say, but it would be too easy to just tag them again. So I will poke new people, Jo-Ann Fox, Alice Keeler, Jeff Heil, JR Ginex-Orinion, and Diana Neebe