Blog comment: Tempered Radical

Nice article today at Tempered Radical on the over-scripted curriculum.  It sums up nicely why I’ve never bothered to pursue certification as a teacher, or wanted to teach in public schools.  Because one hears stories about these huge three-ring binders he mentions, and the super-scripted curriculum… and teaching is hard enough without having all the joy of creativity and play taken out of it.

He writes,

After listening to me describe the impact that scripting has on schools, my parent said something brilliant:
“That’s crazy.  Schools are letting an HR problem—-attracting enough accomplished teachers that you can trust to do the job well without a script—-create a curriculum and instruction problem.  Address the HR problem instead.”
She’s right, isn’t she. Now, what do we do about it?
Can teachers take the lead, working to make the impact of scripted curricula transparent to parents and policymakers?  Is this an issue that parents have to champion, standing up for the kinds of instructional experiences that they want their children to have? Are we all waiting for a legislator willing to put his neck on the line and advocate for new salary structures that reward the best and brightest who choose to teach?

After listening to me describe the impact that scripting has on schools, my parent said something brilliant:

“That’s crazy.  Schools are letting an HR problem–attracting enough accomplished teachers that you can trust to do the job well without a script–create a curriculum and instruction problem.  Address the HR problem instead.”

She’s right, isn’t she. Now, what do we do about it?

The answer to all of these questions, of course, is YES.  Yes, we teachers could take the lead.  Those very expensive scripted curricula should be online and open to the public that paid for them.  The public should be able to review and comment on them, and they should be wikified so that the teachers can edit them.  Yes, parents have to champion their children, and stand up for the kinds of educational experiences they want for their children.  Yes, we need legislators to put their necks on the line, and advocate for new structures for paying teachers.

Yet whatever system we adopt is going to need to combine elements of what we already have, and what we want for the future.  No society ever gets to scrap its complete education system and start again; that’s not the way it works.  You need a total breakdown of the civilization before you get a chance to redesign the educational process all over, from top to bottom and left to right, and I sincerely hope we don’t have that in my lifetime.

So what are schools doing right?  More specifically, what is your school doing right that you would like to see other schools doing right?

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