When Teachers Aren't Invited

During my prep period today, I ran across a discussion between a few people on Twitter. It revolved around a Harvard Gazette article where five experts engaged in a discussion regarding how to  "jump-start effective learning."

I read the experts and found myself nodding with a few of their ideas. However, I was bothered that the discussion regarding the future of education failed to include a single K-12 public school teacher. Somehow we are not a part of the conversation.

Again.

Imagine a conversation about the future of health care that never included a single doctor. Think about a dialogue on the future of art without a single artist. Maybe a discussion on the future of business with only economics professors and not a single person from a corporation. I wouldn't expect to see a visionary conversation about the future of architecture without including any real architects.

Jason Glass pointed out that the panel wasn't meant as a slight to teachers. It was simply a group of experts affiliated with Harvard. I don't believe it was an intentional slight. It rarely is. Instead, it's an oversight, a quiet silence of the teacher's perspective. The experts are out there, above us, dreaming up reform. We are simply the practitioners.

The problem is this: those who create policies are much more likely to listen to a Harvard panel packed with experts than they are to listen to the teachers who often have great ideas on re-imagining schools. When our perspectives aren't included in the various panel discussions, policy makers miss out on a necessary reform perspective.


John Spencer is a teacher, author, speaker, and incessant doodler.
He is the co-author of Wendell the World's Worst Wizard
and the co-founder of Write About .

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