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Jose Vilson 9 Comments

Education Think Tank

re: the future of education

Me: “It’s going to get worse before it gets better.”
NYC Educator: “Maybe. Hope you’re wrong but you probably aren’t”

My Google Reader is replete with educational blogs: teacher bloggers, educational policy, and even administrator / collective blogs, and they pretty much all tell me the same thing: we’re headed for grim times in the field of education. The most telling sign of where it’s heading is the race for the presidency: How many times have you heard Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, or any other presidential candidate for that matter really discuss their educational plans in depth? Unfortunately, a few people weren’t too pleased with my decision to not vote in the primary, but look at just a sliver of the presidential talking points for the more heavily touted Democrats a few months back (and, to be sure, the president totally ignored this during his final State of the Union). Not surprisingly, education is completely missing.

Not that education isn’t on people’s minds. When I tell people I’m a teacher, they call it a noble cause, and tell me how people depend on me and others like me to lead the children to a better understand of not just math but life itself, even conceding that they probably wouldn’t do it themselves. I understand their position, but when I tell certain people why I’m not convinced about Bloomberg, Klein, Weingarten, or any politico trying to snatch up votes, people look at me with the stankest of faces. I also see the same people ignoring education even in the blogosphere, even with this huge army of teachers, administrators, and support staff that write thoroughly.

This is what many teachers have already started to see: the deterioration of the image of the teacher. Not that many in our cohorts don’t act inappropriately (D’oh!), but that’s really the minority. Despite what the media might paint about teachers, most of the teachers I’ve come across are hard-working and integral individuals with nothing but the students’ interests at heart. Yet, it’s become easier to harass teachers and continually chip at their job security than to develop them. The conspiracy theorist critical thinker in me says it’s because, if we develop teachers, we then encourage teachers to actually teach intelligently, thus creating a populace that can analyze, rationalize, and understand, not so they can have sufficient skills for the workforce, but so they can look at their environment and make effective changes to their environments, making this world a better place to live in.

I can’t be moved on this issue, seeing first-hand how principals, administrators, teachers, and students have to battle the powers that be just to get a sliver of the pie society’s dealing us. Fortunately, we’re already starting to see the glimmer of the people fighting back and helping to push the agenda back to its rightful place. To be continued someday …

jose, who is definitely bumping that discipline by janet, and liking it …

About Jose Vilson

José Luis Vilson is a math educator, blogger, speaker, and activist. For more of my writing, buy my book This Is Not A Test: A New Narrative on Race, Class, and Education, on sale now.

Comments 9

  1. e

    wow. everything you said it true. i’m one of those people who looks at teachers and think, there’s not enough money in the world to get me to do this. i have a fair share of teacher friends and the horror stories are too much. it’s easy to see how teachers can be disenchanted, then you throw in a bunch of loud-mouths who have no idea of what is going on inside and outside of the building and blame teachers for low test scores (as if that’s the only measure of education).. akc. it’s a mess. of course you said it much more eloquently (as usual ;-) )

    peace,
    e.
    p.s. i’m glad to hear someone likes janet’s album

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  4. NYC Educator

    I think a lot of what you say can be applied not only to teachers, but to all working people in the US. I keep seeing people complaining, “Why do teachers have tenure? Why do teachers have benefits? Why do teachers have time off?”

    What mystifies me is why the same people aren’t storming statehouses with torches and pitchforks demanding, “Why don’t we have tenure, benefits, and time off?”

    And I’m honestly surprised you didn’t vote. I vote every chance I get.

  5. Jonathan

    To be continued? There’s really no choice, not if we’re going to keep doing this.

    Btw, didn’t vote in the primary either (not really my choice, registered independent in New York, no right to vote, made it easier)

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    Jose

    NYC, you’re right. Totally on point as usual.

    Jonathan, you shouldn’t be surprised since I left a hint of it in the last political post I wrote, even as I was playing Devil’s Advocate.

    Taylor, my only question is: do you have the gloves out?

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