A few days ago, after receiving a new prescription, I picked up my eyeglasses. Reading David Greene’s book, Doing the Right Thing: A Teacher Speaks, was a similar eye-opening experience.
What I saw every day was much clearer and more detailed, such as the trees across the street, individual leaves and all. In addition, there were things I had not really noticed much which were now clearly in view.
The practical things teachers do daily are clarified while keeping in mind all of those things which can clutter or damage what needs to be done to meet the needs of each student. For instance, what helps teachers teach while students grow and learn, and what interferes with this basic process?
“Adversarial relationships are also ruining public education. The most successful school districts have collegial agreements about teaching, curriculum design, and working conditions jointly resolved through a strong tie between administrators, parent groups, policy makers, and teacher collective-bargaining organizations, whether they are called unions or associations. The least successful districts seem to have far more adversarial relationships, or there is an attempt by those in power to destroy those organizations to save labor costs, regardless of the consequences.”
Teachers should teach. Eye doctors should examine and prescribe what is needed for better eyesight.
High stakes testing associated with CCSS is also held up for closer inspection. As Greene gives examples that range from A to Z in the daily workings of all involved in educating each child, he never loses focus of the ever shifting larger picture, such as the publicly financed education reform for private profit being foisted upon America today.
“Historically, how many times have we seen the rich and powerful ‘my way is the only way’ mantra? Usually in feudal societies, monarchies, or dictatorships, where either you are with us or against us. And we know what happens to those who are ‘against us.’ Is that how we want our education reform to perform? No.”
Doing the Right Thing is no defense of the status quo, especially the deformed, mandated, status quo intrusions of No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top, and Common Core State Standards.
Greene clearly demonstrates the essentials of what education in America must focus on if our children are to learn and flourish.