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Leadership and Activism, Philosophical Meanderings


John Thompson recently wrote about autonomy and accountability on Alexander Russo’s This Week in Education blog.

These lines struck me:

NYC’s leaders knew all along that accountability couldn’t just be a punitive regime. There also had to be high levels of psychological safety for adults to learn — a high level of trust.


…engineering high accountability and high trust together at the same time wasn’t easy.

It’s not easy at all, but it’s vital to community-building and inquiry- and passion-driven learning in classrooms and schools.

I don’t think we can play defense as a profession and advance it at the same time. This summer I urge us to think of what’s possible, rather than to dwell on what we believe is impossible in public schools.

Please join the #freedom2learn blog campaign to help educators explain the freedoms that authentic teaching and learning require and to make it clear that we accept accountability for the best teaching and learning we can do.

Here are the organizing questions for #freedom2learn:

  1. What are the freedoms you want in teaching and learning with your students?

  2. What are the freedoms you want in your own professional development and learning?

  3. How are you willing to be held accountable for those freedoms?

There are two goals for this campaign.

  1. First, we’ll archive at least 100 posts by July 4th, 2011. If we can bring together at least 100 of our best ideas about preserving and advancing the core of our profession – teaching and learning – then we’ll have presented a significant number of authentic reforms and counter-narratives to notions of pop teacher evaluation.
  2. Second, we’ll be able to use ideas from #freedom2learn as ready-made professional goals and evaluation proposals for our supervisors next fall. It’s my sincere hope that #freedom2learn make an immediate and concrete change both in how one teacher approaches his or her work next year and in how one supervisor evaluates a teacher next year.

It isn’t naive to think that we can teach as we should; it’s resolute. Help identify the freedoms we need to transform teaching in public schools and help our supervisors, government, media, and public see how accountable we’re willing to be to the right measures of our worth – to the excellence of our students’ learning as evidenced by their work and to their joyfulness at being a part of our schools.

Please join in the campaign, tag your posts with #freedom2learn, tweet them out, and check back soon to watch the archive grow here on the Coöp. You can email or DM me links or posts, as well, if you’d like me to post them.

If you’d like to participate in a more playful take on the same project, check out “The New Teaching Game” and consider sharing your work with both campaigns.

About Chad Sansing

I teach for the users. Opinions are mine; content is ours.


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