Unlike my long-ago entry into the world of sexual intercourse, the end of my diary virginity feels invigorating and empowering. I guess I'm ready.
As my username indicates, I am a mom who likes the idea of peace and love. I am also a licensed educator, a labor activist, an amateur musician and a sometimes poet and song-writer (they are very different things...perhaps I'll explain in a later entry).
I am getting ready to return to the classroom after having been out of full-time teaching for the past year. Being outside of the daily battleground of school politics for a year I've been reading and thinking and watching and listening to the rhetoric of education reform.
When will we stop calling it "reform" and start calling it what it is: privatization?
Education at its core is the exploration of intellect, creative energy, self and the world. Because our country was created as a democracy (at least in principal) our founders recognized that in order to empower citizens with a voice in government via a vote, those voters must have the ability to engage in political dialog and understand the laws that govern them. As civil rights expanded, so did the mission of public education. More voters, more people to educate.
So here we are with a colossal, and let's face it, impossible mission, to educate every child aged 5-18 equally. And there's the rub. What the hell does "equity" mean in education?
Everyone seems to have a different idea and the word itself has become the battle cry of politicians and technocrats. In the name of equity, we have legislated and regulated individual inspiration and creativity right out of education. We teach to the test, we teach to the rubric, we teach to whatever the principal or department chair or superintendent or Education Commissioner deems an "essential 21st century skill."
Because teacher's unions have been systematically disempowered, teachers are at the whim of every "initiative" that comes down the pike, whether it's educationally sound or not. Education startups, test companies, private tutors, private "college coaches" are maximizing their profits while students are shuffled from one product to the next.
So I will head to my local office supply superstore (I refuse to provide free advertising for them by mentioning them by name), spend more money than I have to deliver the lessons I've planned, try to stay off the "troublemaker" radar, and continue to do what I do: teach.