We’re looking for new ideas right now in education, right? Well, how about this one: You can’t be an administrator with decision making power over a teacher unless you have once been a teacher yourself.
In the army, you can’t be a general without ever having been a private. In the world of airlines, you can’t be a pilot until you’ve been a co-pilot. In the world of professional coaching, until you’ve been an assistant coach, you can’t bethe head coach.
But in education, the hallowed halls of decision making are littered with people making decisions about our classrooms who have themselves never been in charge of a classroom.
Mr. Arne Duncan, far as I know, has not even spent one year as a classroom teacher yet he is the number one most important classroom policy decision maker in our nation. Sorry, sir, you may have been appointed the U.S. Secretary of Education but from a basic common sense point of view… you are under-qualified.
Cathie Black just recently stepped down as chancellor of New York City schools. (They say she had her hat handed to her.) But Cathie Black came from the world of publishing as an executive. And get this, she had to request a waiver from the state to even accept the position in the first place because she didn’t hold any education credentials.
And we’re shocked that this didn’t work out? Perhaps it didn’t work out because she wasn’t up for the job in the first place… because she was under-qualified to do the job in the first place.
I don’t know if the erasures at Noyes Education Campus which coincided with test scores rising in an explosive, heralded manner and being celebrated by Michelle Rhee with national fanfare, financial bonuses and the such were the result of cheating (but if it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck…), and while I don’t always agree with Rhee on things, at least she was a classroom teacher, so when she says some of the things she does, it comes from a place of having real perspective as gleaned far from the lights and clean offices of off-site administrative buildings.
Michelle Rhee once ran her own public school classroom. To me, that is the minimal threshold level of qualification one must have in order to have administrative decision making power.
Are the people determining classroom policies actually well-versed in what it’s like to have your own classroom? There’s only one way to qualify: have had your own classroom. If not, then they don’t have the stuff it takes.
IMHO, you gotta walk a mile in a teacher’s moccasins before you can dictate the educational road.