About This Blog
This blog is dedicated to our nation’s millions of hardworking and committed educators whose lives and thoughts and hours of the day are totally immersed in this wondrous institution called American public education.
The heart of this website is the interactive map on the page, In the Trenches. Below the map I tell you why I started a blog about NCLB and school reform. Be sure to read my first post, which concerns the unintended consequences of school reform in Arizona. You will see that this blog is for problem solvers and for solutions-oriented people. It’s really a “Call to Action.” Tell your fellow educators about this site. Get them to log on and leave a comment. The more comments we have the more powerful our voice can be.
This site is for the teachers and administrators who have tried their hardest to operate under the mandates of No Child Left Behind for the last 9 years. School reform in the United States is an important endeavor and a necessity if the United States is to retain an eminent position in the world during the 21st century. School reform is a must if we believe that all children, regardless of their ethnicity, color, background, or IQ, should be given the opportunity to reach their potential.
Some people are strong advocates for one of those two beliefs, but don’t care a whit about the other. Many are strong proponents of both. You have to agree with only one of those beliefs in order to believe in the urgency of school reform.
But no matter the urgency, I believe that we need to pause and assess where we are in the process. Congress should not move ahead with the reauthorization of NCLB unless our representatives in Washington understand the unintended consequences of NCLB. We must pause and evaluate these consequences before moving ahead with Race to the Top. After reading Diane Ravitch’s book, The Death and Life of the Great American School System and John Merrow’s Below C Level: How American Education Encourages Mediocrity – and What We Can Do about It, I thought “Whoa! Once President Obama and Arne Duncan read these books they will say, ‘We better hold on a minute and rethink school reform. We better slow down.’” Well, as you know, that didn’t happen.
NCLB is now before Congress for reauthorization. The reauthorization was scheduled for 2010, but it has become such a political issue that our representatives and senators do not want to tackle it with the November general election on the horizon. NCLB has received much criticism. Should it be reauthorized and include President Obama’s proposed Blueprint for Race to the Top?
Or should we first reform the reform? Or should we get rid of it altogether? I believe as educators that together we can do some problem solving and eventually offer sound solutions which can quell the political storm. But your help is needed.
Those who have the most valuable input into this matter are the teachers and principals who work “in the trenches.” Is YOUR voice being heard? If you look around the internet, you will see the incredible number of blogs and articles published on the subject of No Child Left Behind. You will become aware of the numerous organizations, commissions, and agencies that have submitted position papers on the subject of school reform.
Have any of these efforts made a difference? Why isn’t Arne listening to Diane Ravitch? She was once a strong proponent for the very reform that she is now denouncing. If he’s not listening to her, who’s left for him to listen to? Perhaps if he hears from every state — from the very people who are working in the trenches – about the unintended consequences of NCLB, he will finally listen — and pause — before continuing to push forward. Please join the effort. Public education itself is at stake — as is the future of our children — and, I agree with John Merrow, our democratic way of life.
As a side note, I was inspired to start this blog after reading a June article in Newsweek on the importance of creative problem solving for our nation’s future . You don’t have to go to the link to use this blog. But if you do, you may ask why our leaders in Washington didn’t go through this process in 2001 before arriving at such monumental and sweeping school reform. It’s not too late for us as educators to go through this process right now — and help Washington and our local schools and our kids. Together, let’s get the school reform train back on track.