Friday, April 1, 2011
Is this the beginning of the end for education in America?
I have recently begun following the tweets from Diane Ravitch and the above youTube clip I think encapsulates what the current state of play is in American primary and secondary education. The letter that she reads from a primary school teacher is heart breaking and I am amazed that the USA does not have a major teacher shortage on their hands. The tweet feed is full of themes of desperation, sorrow and down right unfairness for teachers, parents but MOST importantly it is the children's voices we are not hearing!
Perhaps these voices are silent because of fear or a sense of powerlessness. Perhaps those in power don't want to hear their voices because if the letter from the teacher fighting to give kids a chance makes your eyes fill with tears then a semi literate, broken, struggling barely audible voice from a child who is talking about visiting his sole parent in jail should create despair and soul searching.
What is happening in America? The land of the free and brave?
Here your president talks about making sure that going to College is affordable to all of those who have the ability. He backs the ideas of supporting community Colleges and overall his message is very positive. He sounds like a president that understands that education can be an emancipatory force for the American people. But what keeps coming is still stories of disappointment and unfairness.
I tip my hat to all those teachers and educators in the USA fighting for the right of your nations children to a decent and fair education. And I count my lucky stars that here down under things have not gotten this rotten. And finally if our current Prime Minister looks to the US for educational policy inspiration I dearly hope she talks to the teachers first then the apparatchiks.