As Secretary Arne Duncan travels the country on his Back-to-School bus tour, he has refocused his attention on the community schools strategy as a vehicle for implementing a Broader Bolder Approach to Education.
As the Chicago Teacher's strike appeared over and over on the news, I began to think about what an evaluation of another group of public employees may unearth -- the performance and efficacy of our Congressmen and women.
In the old days, teachers would have been told how to vote. Today, they are part of the process. The teachers want (and deserve) to be part of the decision making.
My mother and father were Chicago public school teachers for the entirety of their 30-year careers. I wish commentors offended by the suggestion teachers should get paid well could spend one day in a public school teacher's shoes.
Having sat in on numerous school contract negotiations, I can tell you that the best contract agreement is when both sides walk away not feeling totally satisfied. That appears to be the case in Chicago.
The takeaway from the Chicago strike is that true leadership in education requires partnership -- an approach that supports what is working in our schools and creates a collaborative effort among teachers, school officials, and policymakers.
Even though the strike has ended, America's inequalities won't end with a single compromise. They will end when we stop fighting each other and fight for the one thing we can agree on: the future of our children.
The good news is that the rest of us can learn something from the mistakes both sides in this particular melodrama have made.
Whether you agree or disagree with the contemporary market-driven, test-driven "reform" movement, it would be hard to deny that it has benefited from the best public relations campaign that money can buy.
Teachers, like other professionals, don't want to be evaluated. Here's a technological solution: put a nanny cam in every classroom. And not just to trap them doing something wrong.
We parents who want an educational system that can rescue those most at risk realize that no contractual agreement will solve those glaring inequalities.
Although Chicago has a Democratic Mayor, Rahm Emanuel, it's the Republicans who have made the strike a national political issue by criticizing the Chicago public school teachers and their union.
Instead of privatized education for Chicago, I hope for a future with strong neighborhood schools where teachers work together with CPS to create safe environments and strong learning communities.
Chicago's teachers and their leadership should continue to battle for what they believe in. As a former public school teacher and parent, I actually disagree with some of their goals but will defend their right to pursue it.
No matter which side you're on in the Chicago teachers' strike, everyone agrees on one thing: children need a safe place to go when school is not in session.
The current strike by Chicago's teachers has again brought to national attention the long-running debate about the role of standardized testing in the evaluation of the quality of teachers.