The re-drawn chart comparing the various gradi...Image via Wikipedia

The power of being positive in educationcan not be underestimated.  How powerful is it and what affect does it have on people?  Unfortunately, in today’s world the focus towards education is on the negatives.
Every day I read the headlines in my feeds and the local newspaper(yes I still look at the paper).  Much of what I see is so negative:

budget shortfalls are closing many of the smaller local schools

school systems are laying off employees

that we need a national curriculum or national common core standards

politicians spouting rhetoric and about how they are going to change education for the better

that increasing standardized tests are the answer to education’s problems

student standardized test scores are down or not improving, therefore we must be failing as a nation educationally

how teacher performance evaluations need to be tied to student standardized test scores

bad and lazy teachers are the problem

statistics showing how Charter schools are out-performing public education

and the host of other “stuff” that is in the news and the constant parade of statistics that shows how bad schools and teachers are.

Based on everything I read from politicians and hear in the news I have to wonder –“am I a member of a profession that is generally considered to be incompetent by many in leadership positions?”
My personal experience with several school systems (having been in military I saw more than my share) and since I have become an education insider (a teacher) is:

I absolutely do not believe that that vast majority of my chosen profession is incompetent or unable/unwilling to professionally teach students.  

In fact I strongly believe the opposite is true, I find that most educators want to teach students effectively and are willing to do what is necessary to ensure that they do.

How many other professions routinely give of their own time to their company (not charging for overtime) by routinely working 60-70 hours a week, using their own money to see that a child eats or has clothes?   How many teachers do you know that bring in extra food for lunch or have a food stash in their desk for the student that comes in and says I am hungry?  In most schools this happens every day.

The news and our political leadership doesn’t highlight the positive things that we do over the course of a school year, yet why do they continue to choose to accentuate the negative?

What would happen if they focused on what we in education do right and expanded on those things, instead of proposing or making mandates that have little value in the real world classroom in our schools.  I just wonder if suddenly our schools would once again regain much of their lost luster?

I believe that they would!  

As my Statistics teacher once told me “You can make statistics say whatever you want them to, so it is important to know what you are talking about when you use statistics to analyze anything.”  Those words stuck with me throughout my military career and seems even more important now that I am an educator.  I tend look at any statistical analysis with a “jaded” eye and attempt to find out the bias of the author or user of those statistics before I embrace the “facts” they may or may not bring out.

I believe it is past time for educators and schools to really push to our political leadership and the media (local and national) what we in education do correctly.  That we do a great job with the resources and support that we have.  Yes there are some problem areas, but let’s work to address those small areas instead using a shotgun approach to overhaul the entire system and throwing out what is actually working.  We don’t have to use rhetoric or vitriol to tell our story, but we have to get our stories told and heard about the progress we are making in the education of our students.

The constant bombardment of negativity is undermining the public’s view of schools and teachers.  It is affecting teacher morale and performance in the classroom.  Ultimately, all this negativity is starting to affect student performance in the classroom, which is to me is the biggest problem.   The undermining of “respect” that many students have for teachers, is becoming very noticeable. I believe it is directly attributable to the negativity and lack of respect that is being shown by our leadership at the local, state and national levels for teachers.

I guess it comes down to whether our leadership is looking to have the American Educational System remain a publicly financed system or should education be taken over and become privatized (Free Enterprise) with the owner’s profit as the over-riding goal?

What do you think?  Are my thoughts that I have expressed above accurate or are they not?

If they are not please provide me with the reasons why they are not.

Have you made a difference today? How?

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