The big "reform" trucks have been rollin' down the education highway for nearly a decade now. Public school educators are used to faux reform's inconvenience and injustice by now--and some even accept endless testing, lockstep standards and curriculum, and systematic destruction of public schools as necessary for positive change. Parents and grandparents may like their children's schools and teachers, but have absorbed the incessant media drumbeat: public education has failed. Out with the old! Something Must Be Done!
If--like me--you still believe that public education is a civic good, an idea perfectly resonant with democratic equality, you're probably wondering if there's anything that can stop the big "reform" trucks. Those massive, exceptionally well-funded "reform" trucks with their professional media budgets, paid commentary and slick political arms.
I can tell you this: it won't be teachers alone who turn back the tide of "reform." Teachers have been backed into a corner, painted as unionists bent on their own security (whether they pay dues or not), unwilling to be "accountable." They have been replaced, willy-nilly, by untrained temps--without retaliatory strike-back from their national union leaders. They have been publicly humiliated by their own cities and media outlets, not to mention the Secretary of Education.
Besides, teaching--as an occupational cluster--tends to attract those who liked school and believe sincerely in the power of public education to do good in society. They're nurturers--four-fifths of them women, many with children and family responsibilities as well as professional careers. It's not surprising when teachers keep their heads down and follow orders, even when their hearts aren't in it.
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