We’ve entered that time in Iowa where we are discussing, re-discussing, hashing and re-hashing Iowa’s educational future. I will be the first to admit, as a state, we’ve rested on the “well, we are number 1” for far too long. Changes need to be made, some of them being painful, others being entirely unnecessary because someone with a fancy title feels they are important.
While I have no desire to be in the middle of that political mess, when all this heats up, I think of one question that I’d like to tweet out to each an every blathering buffoon who feels they know education:
Are you, or have you ever been a teacher?
Nothing political, grandstanding, or in anyway uppity about that question. It’s about as base as a question that a person can ask. However, in my own mind, the answer to that question leads right to the credibility to you as someone who holds the power to change my job, good, and or otherwise. A teacher has insights into a classroom, a school, educational climate that someone who’s never done the job cannot understand. They’ve been in the room with 25 children, few supplies, and a mountain of stuff to work through. They’ve stayed late, gotten to school early, or both, so they know the hours that are put in. They have seen first hand the power that a positive comment has, but also how a toxic environment can trouble a whole school.
It’s not to say that there are not many worthy legislators out there who’ve not been teachers. They have parents who’ve been in the field, spouses, or their own children. That would be entirely unfair to make that generalization, yet, when someone stands up with zero background in education other then what their own childhood provided for them, or the only time they’ve been in a classroom was for a photo opp, I have very little time for that kind of tomfoolery.
As I watch the hashtag #IAEdFuture (many great educators along with other leaders in education talking Iowa education) I have to wonder about their own background. We are all motivated “to do what’s right for kids”. My hope is that those who truly have no idea what Iowa classroom is all about, visit one, talk with a teacher, someone who’s in the trenches. Don’t make your decisions about the future of our great state based on “what you’ve heard” or on what another outside organization tells you. Do your homework, for the sake of kids everywhere, and make decision that is based what those in IOWA education tell you.
Otherwise, this reform is like all others, and losses credibility with those whom in effects the most: students and teachers.