My basic philosophy of education is pretty simple: What happens in a classroom should be about every kid, every day. The needs of children should be at the center of every decision made at every level of the spectrum.
The thing I am discovering (or perhaps confirming) is that all too often, the farther removed someone is from the classroom, the more likely it is that they want to make decisions based on the needs of adults, rather than students. I realize that as adults, we are responsible for making decisions on behalf of kids. I also realize that there are any number of viewpoints out there about what qualifies as "good" educational practice and so there will always be opinions to debate and satisfy during a decision-making process. I'm okay with that as long as people make their point on behalf of what they believe is best for kids and not themselves.
I am finding that I am starting to be more up front with my philosophy. There is a lot happening with science education reform in this state. A lot of people want my ear. And what I am saying at the beginning of nearly every conversation is that statement of my philosophy: Every kid. Every day. I want them to know that if they're coming to me talking about personal/adult concerns, I an appreciate that, and am very willing to listen to whatever they have to share. I feel like it is fair, however, to be clear that unless they frame their comments around the needs of students, they will not carry much weight with me.
I'm not sure this is the right thing to do. From a personal standpoint, it is. It is as true to myself as I can be. As for my professional role---should I be harder to read? Is it better to just take in all of the information and quietly make judgments later? Do we need leaders who appear centrist...or ones who are direct (even if you disagree with their viewpoint)?
At some point, I will have to resolve this issue for myself. Whether or not I am overt in expressing my philosophy, it doesn't change that lens I'm using (or my frustrations with the selfish adults I meet along the way). And it doesn't change the need for every kid to have a positive learning experience in their classrooms every single day.