Future of School Reform

May 16, 2011

Education Week is publishing articles written by a cohort of education professors and policy makers organized by the Harvard Graduate School of Education. The series is called the Future of School Reform.

See the intro and background here:

The series started March 28 and concludes May 25. There are great thinkers and thought provoking concepts in the articles.

I applaud the intent of the working group to address big issues in school reform.  I am disappointed that not a single classroom teacher is listed as a contributor.

There are educators on the list. But I would like to see an authors biography include their name and their title with a recognizable and simple twist. For example,   Nancy Watkins, teacher.

Okay, I admit… I would like to contribute. I wrote a dissertation on the importance of including classroom teachers (not just union reps; not just researchers; not just academia) in the reform process.  I wonder if teachers will read the group’s articles and blog to see what is the “Future of School Reform.”  I wonder if teachers are just holding on and waiting to see what is coming next. I wonder why I am not content just being patient.

I need the time to write so I can contribute. But it is May, the end of testing season, there is a ton of grading to be done, progress reports are due, and my seniors are squirrely.  I’m working on the department schedule for next year, working on my budget for next year if we have to take six furlough days, and wondering when we will have a contract.

I love the dialogue and I will read through the perspectives hoping to catch a glimpse of hope for school reform. I will continue to find my own voice anticipating one day a national working group will ask for my contribution.

But… I am not holding my breath.


Brunch with people who get it

May 16, 2011

I indulged in an amazing brunch today.  The indulgence was not just in food… it was in great conversation with colleagues of mine who get it.

We sat around the table as educators with doctorates.  With diverse experiences in public schools, knowledge and understanding of research, and commitment to the students we serve, the four of us journeyed through our doctoral programs and made it to the other side as friends.

I have the utmost respect for these people. We are different from each other in many ways, but we have genuine caring for each other. These are professionals who choose the field of education despite other options. They are intelligent and ambitious.  We talked about our schools and experiences, but moved effortlessly through a variety of topics in the way that good friends do. We sought  advice and offered  support. We marveled at how quickly time passes. Three hours passed today and we went back to our lives. 

I am proud to be their friend. My colleagues are good people. Good educators. And they get it.

And the food was good too!