Saturday, March 13, 2010

Putting Politics and Policies Aside

Education then, above all other devices of human origin, is the great equalizer of the conditions of man. Horace Mann

It hasn't been an easy week to be an educator. Education has taken a lot of hits. The recent firings, the suggestion firings continue (thanks, Newsweek), and all of the news out of Washington has been less than motivating. I suppose the spotlight on education provides a distraction from all of the other problems the country faces.

As educators, it's easy to feel defeated and question the very calling that brought us to the profession in the first place. Whether it is a love for working with children, a desire to change the lives of others, a drive to make a difference, or the opportunity to shape the future. We all come to the profession, and stay in the profession, because we value the work we do with children.

As educators, I don't think any of us would argue we couldn't improve in many ways. Most teachers I know continually attend professional development, take classes, belong to professional organizations and spend most of "June, July and August" completing coursework and catching up on professional reading to improve their practice.

As educators, we know children deserve more than a role as political pawns in a game in which there are no winners. So while the politicians debate, we'll be in our classrooms because we believe the best use of our time is working to help our students learn and achieve. We believe in the children who enter our doors each day eager to inquire, discover, and create meaning in their worlds. We know they are the scientists, the peace makers, the writers, and the problem solvers of our tomorrow. We understand the significance of the work we do.

It is easy to be distracted by the politics and policies of those in power. While the negative press continues to spiral, I will continue to read and follow the educational leaders who truly make a difference in the work I do each day with children. Tell Secretary Duncan (#TellSecDuncan) there are amazing shifts taking place in education thanks to educational leaders who share their insights. Tell President Obama change comes from collaboration as teachers create their own personal learning networks to continue to grow as educators. Tell our politicians we have to put politics and policies aside to do a better job for ALL children.

These are the posts I stumbled upon this week which I find POSITIVELY motivating.

Choice Literacy shared 30 great links for literacy. These links include ideas for differentiating instruction, improving collaboration in your school, and much more.

If you missed Share a Story - Shape a Future, you really want to spend some time with this blog tour (links to all 5 days are in the bottom right of the Share a Story home page).

You won't want to miss Day 5 of the tour: Reading for the Next Generation at Jen Robinson's Book Page. Jen has an informative summary of the week as well as links to other stories about the topic.

Jim Burke has an uplifting blog post to remind us we are all a piece of the puzzle in making a difference for students.

Diana Ravitch, Wallstreet Journal, tells us why she changed her mind about school reform.