Education is Politics - Ira Shor
Shor talks a lot about what we've already heard so much about: the educational system we have is a broken system that works more often for those who have social or economic blessings than minorities and other students. Oakes is mentioned in the article as having done research that helped reinforce his points.
What it comes down to is us as teachers. We are the only ones who can make a difference, since it seems obvious to me that the bureaucracy in charge of running public education and even those in colleges are not going to change their ideas and change how the curriculum is designed or how the school system as a whole is run. There is a bright side for us educators: we are many. We can teach our own version of the curriculum, use students' input to enhance the lessons, and make things relevant to them. Students need teachers who understand that not everyone is comfortable/capable of acing standardized tests and not everyone can learn or even wants to learn by being lectured to.
We need students to question the world around them, not accept it blindly. You have to ask yourself, did your school or perhaps a single teacher encourage you to ask questions and not take things for granted? If so, then you've got an example of what to do. If not, there are many resources available.
Teaching is not easy. Making an environment where every feels comfortable, conveying the material so that everyone (regardless of disability or learning style) can understand, and everything else Shor talks about like having students participate, relating to life, and being multicultural sounds nightmarish to implement. But that's what we have to try. We are not alone. "TOTAL PUBLIC SCHOOL TEACHERS: 3,178,142" And that is just for public schools; it does not include Catholic, private, or charter schools. That's a lot of teachers, and if they all got together, used some sort of communication and could share lesson plans, teaching strategies, and general advice, imagine what could be accomplished. I realize that some teachers do network already. But if there was a move to network all teachers, the benefit would be incredible.
I know I ask this question a lot, but we're seeing more and more that has to be changed, and it's up to us. Can we make a difference and change how the educational system is perceived?