Relay GSE v. Traditional Teacher Prep – A Symptom of a Problem

December 6, 2012 at 8:55 AM Leave a comment

Being a change agent in education is difficult. The career arc of a reformer is likely to follow that of the shooting star/falling star with greater hyperbole than that of a “new hero” teacher. Such is the nature of the industry. So it is not surprising that leaders of education movements find themselves forced to create a pipeline for followers in order to keep their ideas alive.

My response to Bruno: You Call It Indoctrination, I Call It Effective printed in @Alexander Russo’s This Week in Education on December 3, 2012…

In Baker’s defense, I know the feeling when someone is about to offer me some Kool-Aid that will make me see the world their way…time to find the nearest exit.

However, in the binary world that pervades education debates today, either one is staunchly willing to evade accountability with complete disregard for student outcomes or one is actively hurting the children for their own good. Neither world is real, but they seem to help those who only see power in the bully pulpit sort people out and determine whether or not it is their turn to be heard.

Relay GSE is a change agent more so than a scholarly institution, but we can look forward to a time when even traditional ed programs accept the best of what they have to offer. That, of course, cannot happen until we have the kind of data that can stand up to scrutiny.

In the first place, I believe in better data. We are not really data driven. We are driven by our own world views, with some of us carrying whatever chip or war-torn paper offering flimsy support for that world view. We can do better, and informed points of view must be part of any solution to education’s woes. But that is only part of the problem. Absence of real dialogue also prevents mediation of solutions.

There is such an entrenched status quo in public education, and there is a major bullying tendency among participants to maintain it. Unions are blamed because theirs are organizations built to amass a posse with great facility. However, angry reformers sometimes practice the same tactics with digital weapons. Teachers are vilified and scapegoated without any history of real data on their effectiveness. Either way, it is a sorry combination of group think and rigid solutions. Who started it is less important than the path out of this approach.

Solutions lie between the extremes of thought. Finding middle ground without going so far as satisficing is one of the lessons we need to learn. It will begin with informed dialogue that transcends our highly polarized political arena and social networking that garners mass audiences through superficial sound bites.

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Entry filed under: Teacher Prep.

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