Giving Compass’ Take:
• Below are seven education reform lessons from the teacher strikes in Denver that could bring us closer to getting the public schools that we need for students to thrive.
• What role can donors play in helping advance education reform after a strike?
Denver’s first teacher strike in 25 years marks a turning point in Colorado, and possibly the nation’s efforts to reform public education. The strikes in Los Angeles, Chicago, Denver, West Virginia, and now Oakland have had as much to do with teacher frustrations over how they have been treated by the reform movement as with how much they have been paid. It appears many teachers feel as if reform was pushed upon them, whether new teacher evaluation systems or increased testing without incorporating solutions to the problems they face in their schools.
Here are seven lessons from Denver’s teacher strike that might get us the public schools we need:
- Include teachers: Reform efforts must include educators if they are to have a lasting impact.
- Start with what works: Unproven technocratic fixes rarely work and can carry a heavy political cost.
- Begin with schools, not classrooms: Although the teacher is one of the most important factors in a student’s development, schools are the places that support (or don’t) teachers in their work.
- Include community from the start: Reform, no matter how well-intentioned, must be driven by community, not done to community.
- Community-based advocacy works: Positive transformation is possible even in a contentious negotiation.
- No quick fixes; tinkering wins the day: Education reform history is marked mostly by slow progress over decades, with a great deal of noise over simple, quick fixes that come and go.
- Use a split screen: Admittedly somewhat counter to the previous lesson, reformers collectively must work on fixing the current system while building new paradigms of public education designed to educate most of the population at the levels needed today.
Read the full article about education reform lessons from the teacher strikes by Van Schoales at The 74
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