Well, I did not get much response from my idea of educators banding together and paying one of our own to lobby Washington D.C. for legitimate change in education. I did name a few names in my comments on the blog that sparked the original post and a couple of them responded. (Again I want to emphasize that my original question of “Why do none of the ed-tech leaders seem to have the ear of Duncan, Obama, or any of the other politicians making terrible education policy?” was not meant to be a critique of anyone but was a genuine question).
Some of the responses given were obvious and make sense: “politics, everyone is an education expert, and politician’s minds are hard to change.” But one reason was given that I disagree with: “Don’t assume that even the people in your list agree on the large or small issues regarding a deeply complex issue like education.”
Now I know that people could argue about the fine points of education forever much like churches argue about theology. We love to split into denominations: Catholic, Lutheran, Anglican, Reformed, Baptist, Mennonite, Presbyterian, 5-point Calvinism, 4-point Calvinism, 2.5-point Calvinism, etc.
We have educators who believe in standard based grading, rubrics, or no grading; homework, modified homework, or no homework; IWB’s, clickers, laptops, IPads, cell-phones, 1:1, or limit technology; student-owned devices or school purchased; experimentation or research-based decisions; public schools, charters, TFA, or KIPP.
We struggle to define loaded terms and concepts such as Web 2.0, 21st Century skills, literacy, learning, purpose of schools, PLN, social learning.
But even with all of our differences I think that we could agree on some basic tenets of quality education at the Federal level and leave all of the rest to local districts to figure out in their communities. So here is my education platform:
- Get rid of standardized tests
- Get rid of NCLB and RTTT
- Constructivist, student-centered learning
- Re-write CIPA to give localities power to decide how and what to filter and to allow for the option of student-owned devices
- Support technology integration in schools
- Encouragement of cooperation and collaboration in schools
- Focus on critical thinking and problem solving