16 November 2008

Rage Against the Machine

My hunch is that every subject area (math, reading, science...) has its own infrastructure in terms of special interest groups. There are, of course, schools; but there are also parent groups, business interests, publishers of instructional materials, test-writers, professional organizations, and so on. The composition of the mob can vary---as can where the ultimate power lies---but there is no getting away from the sad truth that outside the safe confines of the classroom walls, education is a very political business.

I, however, am not a very political sort of animal.

I worry that while we say we are about leading change in science education, that the same voices keep being invited to the table---and therefore, the message is also the same. Not very changey, is it? And yet, if you appear to slight the establishment by not including them in various conversations, this can also be a danger. So, how do you get new ideas and broader participation without the old school turning against you?

I'm thinking that there has to be some way to honor the regular contributors---perhaps ask for their "help" or participation with some things while bringing in others for different meetings? Do we slowly introduce new to the old---adding one or two new voices to the entrenched PTB? I just keep thinking that as long as we continue to conduct business as usual, we're going to get the same old results. How do you nicely tell the old guard that they've had their opportunity, and "Thanks, but no thanks" for their continuing offers...that we're going to go in a new direction? Is there a diplomatic way to rage against the machine?

Non-Sequitor P.S. I haven't been to a National Science Teachers' Association convention (regional or national) in a few years, but there is one in Portland this week. Are you going, too? Drop me a line if you're interested in getting together.

No comments: