Sometimes I wonder why education seems to be constantly under attack. From big government to a single parent, everyone seems to have an opinion about how to educate children better than we do now. Why do you think that is? Parents decide to send their children to cyber schools, charter schools or even home school their kids because they feel public education does not work. Government is constantly trying to legislate new rules and policies that create barriers for educators. Celebrities toss millions of dollars at schools to try their "revolutionary ideas." Why is that? Are they experts in the field of education? Are they neuroscientists who research how a brain retains information and "learns"? The answer is a definitive No!
Have you ever gone to the doctor's office and were told your child needed surgery? Would you say to that doctor, "No, I think I will take my child home and do the surgery myself?" Everyone also knows the quote "The person that represents himself in the court of law has a fool for a client." That's because we have experts to perform those tasks. What makes people think they can teach children better than the people who have dedicated their lives to the study of educating children? Why do people not trust the experts in education? I have a theory.
Education is really the one thing with which everyone has had at least a cursory experience. Some Americans have spent a great deal of time in school albeit not in the field of education. The fact that most everyone has gone to school seems to give everyone the right to be opinionated about school systems and how children are educated. It does not. Educators are also experts in the field of education. These are people who have dedicated their lives to not only educating your children but instilling a lifelong desire to learn. Educators are individuals that are required to continue to learn in order to improve their practice.
Now before people start to bash teachers and the current state of education, remember that glass house. Every occupation has their superheroes and their less-than-desirables. Are we firing all the doctors that have ever lost a patient? Are we firing a banker or Wall Street broker that has ever lost money for his/her clients? Are we rewriting policies for every failed business venture? And what about all those celebrities and professional athletes that seem to be above the law, do we revoke their right to perform their skills? Not often, if ever. Is Bill Gates deciding on new policies for the bankers or doctors? No, of course not. So why are we letting random people that have no formal training in the field of education set our policies and rules?
In my opinion, there is a solution to the dilemma of "education-bashing." Educators realize that we have problems in American education. We know that there is room for improvement in the education of our young people across the country, but we will never solve these issues as long as politicians use education for campaign posturing. We will never solve our problems as long as celebrities and the very wealthy reign over educational reform. I propose that we create an Educational Dream Team, if you will, made up of experts in the field of education. Allow these individuals to discuss and create realistic educational reform that actually has the potential to positively affect our students' academic growth. Allow a panel made up of teachers, principals, and superintendents to discuss and create realistic educational reform that is directly relevant to student success. We need people to have this conversation that have the educator's, parent's and student's best interests in mind. Only then will we have successful reform.