Education Reform From the Teacher's Perspective

Thursday, December 13, 2007

One of my colleagues, Laurie Russo, posted this to one of the National Council of Teachers of English listserves and I felt it was good to spread her comments.

“I was listening to the Republican debate while waiting to take my
daughter into the doctor at Urgent Care yesterday morning. It was
interesting to see the message every single politician on the dais was
spouting about education. They all, to a person, made comparisons to a

What they left out is that you can’t fire a student who refuses to do
his or her job.

Also, they talked about the need for more parent choice of education for
their children…you know, vouchers, charter schools, private schools,
etc. By the way, will private schools have to meet the same standards
as public schools? Will they have to keep problem students, regardless
of payment and policy? When will the “playing field” be leveled so that
Brad Pitt’s and made up Suzy Chavez’s children have the same educational
opportunities? Or will politicians continue to use propaganda? Pretty
words sound good…action equals risk…and the road to hell has been
paved with good intentions and well meaning words.

What I never hear politicians talk about is the fact that there are not
enough spaces for choice to truly happen. My school, along with others
in my district, is at full capacity. What if students want to go to
your school, and there is no room…is there a plan in place for that?
It’s not like you can create new land to add onto the existing school.
What about transportation? Who gets first dibs…those in the
neighborhoods? Who is going to educate parents about choice…the level
of functional illiteracy in this country still indicates that not
everyone will have equal access to choice.

It sure sounds pretty when they say it, but in reality…it’s worse than
gridlocked traffic.”

Dr. James Norwood is a middle school teacher (English/Language Arts and Drama). He is very passionate about true education reform that reaches all students and all parents. Dr. Norwood possess a PhD in the area of curriculum and instruction and spends much of his time working with his school and district developing a more holistic approach to the curriculum. Contact me


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