Tuesday, February 1, 2011

5 Ways to Shift How We Look at Public Education

Over at ASCD Edge, in his post,  "Thrive and Drive," Walter McKenzie asks, "What if the biggest change that has to take place in education is a cultural shift? What if we shifted how we look at and think about public education?"  He suggests the following:
  1. Schools tightly aligned with all other community agencies to support all the needs of our children in concert. 
  2. Communities valuing education as the engine for their economic future.
  3. Teachers no longer acting like civil service employees working to a contract.
  4. Unions no longer pretending that one teacher is just as good as another.
  5. A respect for education and the service it provides to a free and open society and a competitive global economy, both by educators and the American public.
I'd add in something about not just preparing students for college and/or careers but also as citizens. You can check out his whole post here.


  1. As a veteran teacher & long time NEA member I've been recently struggling with the whole contract/salary schedule issue. I think it is such a barrier to forward progress. Both unions and boards are so afraid of "giving up" hard fought concessions and are so distrustful of one another. How do we move beyond that to truly having a partnership that meets the needs of students?

  2. Haven't haven't been a teacher long, this is my fourth year as a media specialist, I subbed for a few years before being hired for my full time position. I'm not sure what it means "...acting like a civil service employee working to a contract." I have yet to meet any teacher who goes to work each day just to put in their time until retirement.
    I am a board member of our union, a union building representative, and a member of our union's small donor committee. It is incorrect to say that unions view all teachers as equally effective. Unions do not protect teachers who just shouldn't be teachers, in fact, from what I have seen, it is principals who do that. Yes, unions defend the language of a legally negotiated contract and in some situations that may appear to be defending lousy teaching skills. It is not. With all the faults of society being attributed to teachers in public education, I think it is important for unions to exist and defend teachers when few others have the political courage to say anything positive about teachers.