I encourage readers of MaryElizabethSings, who are concerned about public education in America today, to read the words I posted, today, in response to another posters’ statement, on the Atlanta Journal-Constitution educational blog, “Get Schooled.” See below.
“Another poster: ‘. . .teachers need to find ways to engage those outside your field if you really want to improve what you are doing.’
Mary Elizabeth: ‘Would you say the same thing to the medical professionals – that they should find ways to engage those outside their field, such as businessmen, if they want to improve their medical expertise with their patients? I don’t think you would. That would be a highly presumptuous, and even arrogant statement to make to the physician who is serving your medical needs, would it not? Teachers, likewise, are trained in their field and are professionals no less than physicians.
The problems in education are mainly societal in nature. This nation integrated the races within our society in the 1960s and 1970s as had never been done below in two centuries previously of America’s existence. That is only one example of huge societal change that has affected the education of our young more than “poor teaching” has affected their education. Professional educators are looking for answers in how to address these upheavals and dramatic changes in society with wisdom and skill. Trial and error will be part of the process until better solutions are found. That is why I support public charter schools which are working with traditional public schools for the betterment of all the students. However, for a business mogul, such as Bill Gates, to state to those involved in educational change that it makes no difference whether a class is composed of 20 or 40 students demonstrates educational ignorance to most teachers and administrators.
Imo, Americans must not allow ourselves to believe the propaganda of the forces in this nation who are trying to dismantle public education. The wealthy and powerful leaders have ideological and political reasons for disseminating their treatise against public schools to the American public. They may have good intentions, or not, but what they will be doing is turning our public institutions into privately-controlled institutions which will no longer be truly service-oriented, but profit-oriented. I do not want to see professional educators or public school students become pawns for the profit of opportunists.
I do believe that parents should have a voice in the education of their children, however. I ,also, believe that the students, themselves, should have a voice in their own education. These are the “other voices” to whom the educators should be listening, not the business CEOs who have a different expertise and set of skills than do educators. As an illustrative example, the competent doctor will listen to his/her patients before they decide, together, the best medical plan for the patient. The doctor would not think of soliciting the advice of Bill Gates, or any other CEO, about the best way to practice medicine. Physicians continue to learn new information in the medical field throughout their professional lives, and so do teachers. It is unreasonable, to me, to believe that people who have never taught students, themselves, should be given the authority to develop educational policy for educators.
Some things have gone awry in education, to some extent, but each person must look, within, to consider how much he or she has been influenced, without even realizing it, by the particular powerful and wealthy of this country who have an ideological, political agenda to make manifest. These people are plutocrats, not educators. We want to keep our democratic-republic viable. We must not allow it to become an oligarchy, controlled by the few of wealth and power. Please consider what I have written.'”