How inspired am I? Well, here I am in my classroom at 8 pm and I have set aside parent emails, revising student writing, planning tomorrow’s math lesson, pondering how to include the inauguration in class without creating political angst for or from any fifth grader or their families, dinner with my family, and any hope of full school night’s sleep! I set aside all this to finally use my blog and share thoughts after watching this clip of the Daily Show. The news coverage of the senate confirmation hearing for DeVos as Education Secretary had me floored and paralyzed. But this piece of comedy has given me the amplitude to wake up and collect my thoughts from off of the ground where the have been settling in a stupor.
As an educator, I am most certainly biased about the sheer importance of education in the success of our national culture. I believe that quality education of our nation’s children has the greatest leverage for supporting a democracy’s successful and functional constituency and governing. Therefore, our education system must have leadership that understands and can advocate for excellence in education for all citizens.
Accountability is the mantra that we must apply to the highest level of education leaders, more then anyone else involved in schools. They should be accountable for their efforts and use of resources to assess our educational environments as places where student are inclined to be excellent thinkers and successful learners. Students should spend their time actively thinking in the ways and with tools that we know lead to effective, relevant, and sustained learning. The evidence of that learning is easily and qualitatively visible in excellent educational environments. These are the environments that all students should have available to them. It should be the education facilitators’ and leaders’ role to observe students and analyze “proficiency and growth” and then to plan for needed improvements. It should not be the students’ role to undermine their education in order to translate their learning into qualitative, statistical data forms for the convenience of politicians.
Children will always learn, it is just a matter of what they learn. The concept of an intentional education system is to guide that learning in support of a thoughtful citizenry, one that is innovative, community minded, aware of complexity, ethical, and motivated for a healthy future. Children are eager to learn in excellent educational environments, usually even in decent educational environments, and sometimes even in mediocre educational environments. The grace of children’s resilience is a gift that adults thoughtlessly take advantage of much too often in order to bolster our own agendas.
This moment in comedy points out a serious need for us to advocate for our children so that their future is build on a foundation of excellent educational experiences.