There is a MUST read piece by David C. Berliner in the October edition of Educational Leadership. In a short and simple reflection, Now or Never, he asks very compelling questions. Here are a string of questions he asks that are his attempt to get teachers to “step to the plate,” be part of the solution, and come out from the sidelines to participate fully.
- Do you really mean to be silent when they instituted high-stakes tests because your state needed to know how it was doing?
- What did you learn that you didn’t already know about your students?
- What did the state learn that couldn’t have been predicted from zip codes?
- How much does all that test data inform your teaching compared to your own classroom tests and knowledge of your students?
- Are you going to remain silent now, as they get ready to fire you because your test scores are not as high as someone wants them to be for your poor kids and your English-language learners?
He makes the point that teachers need to stop taking the blame for:d
a society that has allowed a 30-year drift into poverty for so many families.
I would add that the drift has extended into families not taking responsibility for the education of their children and not entering into a deeper partnership with their child’s school. Many families opt out of responsibility to encourage, support, and guide their child’s education through early reading, rich conversations, and explorations of the world around them. Families often let their children drift into electronic play while not encouraging creative play with other children.
It’s Now or Never! Berliner writes:
Today’s teachers can no longer afford to be pawns.
(Berliner’s piece is a insert in the article written by Roland Barth, The Time is Ripe. I would recommend both pieces as a call to action)