Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Think, Say, and Actually Act!

by Steve Buel

Something is beginning to bother me a great deal. 

I find it in administrators and sometimes teachers who I talk to in PPS. I find it in OEIB members and other government officials I have talked to over the past few months. It is that people tell me they personally support something and then go on to not support those things in their work, either in government or in the schools.

“I am against over testing” but support our district’s and state’s testing programs.
“I think we need more engagement by our students especially in the middle grades,” but support our lack of engagement in our testing focused curriculum. 

“I am for equity,” but support curriculum for poor children which doesn’t have a well-rounded component to it.
 “I believe a half hour is not enough time for direct services for a kid from Africa to get oriented to American education and the English language,” but I can’t support a new comers’ center.
 “I think it is important that we hear from and dialogue with the public,” but don’t support asking questions of citizens at school board meetings. 
“I think we should have the best teacher working conditions in the state in PPS,” but support full management rights. 
“I think play is an important component of kindergarten,” but support its absence in the Common Core Standards. 

And on and on and on.

Now, I can understand a teacher afraid to voice their opinion in their school for fear of being marginalized or just getting in trouble. I have been there, for many of the 40 years I taught.  But when you are an elected official or a district-wide administrator or an appointed OEIB member you need to put those fears aside if you can and truly work for what is best for the children in our district and the state. At least once in a while speak your true mind. 

Go ahead and say what you think. You might be surprised that a lot of other people are right there with you.