30 January 2010


I have seen any number of fussy bloggers over the years---the kind who only post negative thoughts and angry sentiments. I have no beef with them. Blogging should be whatever you want it to be. I have hoped to be more reflective and positive. When I hit the patches in my professional life where I am more interested in shaking my fist than being capable of finding solutions, I don't write as much.

For whatever reason, I've been feeling rather impotent (in terms of job function) as of late. This has led me to thinking about who really has power in education and who those people listen to. Even with a stateside balcony seat, I often find that I have very little influence on educational events. My goal is not one of power or influence for its own sake---my interests are in supporting kids. It was too difficult to stay in a district where money meant more than people. I wish I could tell you that people at a higher level serve a higher purpose where schools are concerned. The fact is, a lot of them do. Many of the people I work with have kids first and foremost in their minds as they make decisions. Unfortunately, these people are not in the kinds of leadership positions where that could make a real difference.

I do know that the biggest impact on kids is made at the classroom level. In that sense, teachers have more power than anyone. And yet, in terms of the education system as a whole, teachers often have the least say in what happens in terms of policy and budgets.

I'm not sure how to resolve this---or even if this rambling makes a lot of sense. I don't wish to be negative about it, although it's been a downer sort of thing rolling around in my head. How do we ensure that those who are most passionate about doing what is best for kids are the ones who have the biggest voice in shaping policy?


hschinske said...

I first read "balcony seat" as "balony seat." Whoever's got a baloney seat, it isn't you, unless it's a baloney-detecting seat.


The Science Goddess said...

I like that---the "baloney seat."

I can think of a few people occupying one.

Thanks for the laugh. I really needed that.

Roger Sweeny said...

How do we ensure that those who are most passionate about doing what is best for kids are the ones who have the biggest voice in shaping policy?

That's easy. Have clear descriptions of "what is best for kids." Then have objective ways to measure that. Then reward those who help achieve that and punish those who do the opposite.

Alas, in this business, we don't have any of those three. We don't know what we really want to accomplish with the kids. A fortiori, we don't know how to measure it. And it is a point of pride that we don't try to determine how effective teachers or anyone else is.

(In case it's not obvious, when I say "that's easy," I'm being sarcastic. It's like the advice how to make money in the stock market, "buy low and sell high." It's hard--but we're hardly trying.)