What Should You Expect from k12edtalk?
After 45 years in education, I am deeply concerned about the direction that public education is being pushed by an array of forces in contemporary society. I’ve watched educational fads come and go, or fade and reemerge with new wrinkles and packaging. I’ve managed programs designed to help teachers improve classrooms through technology. My leadership roles in providing professional development training to school staff required me to keep abreast of educational research and understand what works in education, and which research is more aligned with those who believe market-based competition in schooling would lead to school improvement. I’ve been concerned with the relentless attacks on public education that abound in the media and in political discourse, and that offer reforms which have never been piloted, have no backing in research, or fail careful examination of their results. Today, educational discourse is being driven by well-intentioned idealists on the one hand and profiteers on the other. The profiteers, in any other realm of professional life, would be discounted because of their lack of credentials. Yet, today these reformers hold sway at state and national levels, and experienced educators who know what works are being ignored.
As a teacher and an administrator, I’ve had the privilege of working with dedicated professionals who devote themselves to their students. I know how we have sought solutions to classroom challenges and respectfully tried each new educational reform as it has emerged. It saddens me to see my profession portrayed with such disdain and to see educators discouraged by the denigration of our work and the endless roll-out of major new initiatives on unrealistic schedules and without appropriate professional development.
Hence, this blog and website. Because the field of education has a strong research base that tells us what works and what doesn’t, I want to use this website as my classroom and as a continuing online educational tool to give readers an improved perspective on the current state of education in America. There are multiple web sites (see the other topical pages on this website–as they evolve over the coming weeks), think tanks, and educational publications that should be guiding the next steps in educational reforms, but these sites have been drowned out by those who suggest public education is unsuccessful, teachers are overpaid, incompetent and disconnected from students, and unions are the source of all problems.
Some critics of public education have identified legitimate problems—urban and urban/suburban poor schools represent the overwhelming sources of public school failure—but too many in high places choose to believe that Jack Welch’s philosophy—find the worst 10% of staff every year and fire them—is the solution to solving the problems of extreme poverty and low academic achievement. But 34% of businesses fail within 2 years and 64% fail within 4. Business Failures Why would we consider business models as a useful educational reform or trust business men as educational reformers?
Many critics have agendas that this blog will explore. My hope for K12EdTalk will be to shed light on such agendas so that readers can reach more informed conclusions about the directions they can support, and offer suggestions about how to influence those who will be making decisions about public education in the coming years.
K12EdTalk will comment on many issues, offer research that reviews what is known about reforms, classroom practices, instructional movements, assessments, teacher and principal evaluation, and federal educational policy. Over the next few months, I’m expecting the site to expand to include several topical categories. As these are constructed on the site, you’ll see more tabs on the homepage that link to commentary on the assorted topics.
I’ll also highlight other bloggers and websites that offer a counterpoint to the media and political attacks on public education.
This is a word press site, and so far entirely self-managed. While I’m learning the software behind site management, the look and feel and organization of the site may noticeably evolve as the content builds.
I’ll be accepting comments and/or suggestions for topics to investigate at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for your initial interest. I hope you’ll come back again to read and contribute as the site matures.