Walls. We are surrounded by them in our schools. Usually a dull beige or institutional grey; they divide us from our colleagues, administrators, community, and sometimes even our students.
They also serve as a phenomenal metaphor for the state of education in this country.
How many people actually know what goes on in the educational factories that serve their communities? I would bet not many. From the affluent to the broken schools, we build a wall of secrecy in the business of educating children. Maybe because we don’t want community members to see what goes on (or doesn’t) on a daily basis. Heck, maybe we are just embarrassed that we haven’t changed much in the way of how we “do” in over 100 years – just ask your great-great grandmother.
In fact I would argue that we even build walls around the day to day operation in our classrooms. One of the hot topics has been collaboration – yet walk into most schools in the nation and there are so many “walls” that divide. Education is filled with hypocrisy – such as being fed professional development about collaboration and then sitting at the bargaining table and negotiating for merit pay – pitting teacher against teacher.
If it is truly Springtime in Education – then the time has come to tear down that wall.
In the arena of education reform, there is no place for walls. We must take a page from the playbook of history and follow in the footsteps of civil rights activists in the 1960s, apartheid riddled South Africans, and the resilient East and West Germans.
Education reform – I mean true reform is going to begin as a grassroots movement. If we are going to change how we “do” school in this country we must all come together. Educators, district administrators, politicians, community members, and students need to make education a priority.
It’s Springtime – now go tear down those walls.
Image: Sue Ream; Creative Commons License
Mike Meechin is an educator and proud product of the inner-city public education system. He blogs at Transparent Curriculum, and is the owner of Innovate Education, a grassroots professional development company.