Time to change the “narrative”?

In my previous post, I was lamenting the ‘pre-packaged” approach of NBC’s Education Nation programming, due to the bias that seemed clearly present in the selection of summit leaders, and descriptions of the teachers who are presenting.

Teacher Anthony Cody(of Oakland, Ca)  has written an impassioned piece regarding this whole “packaged narrative” that  many of us find ourselves so frustrated about.

He writes:

“That narrative goes like this: Our schools are failing. The only way to save them is to expand charters, remove due process for teachers so they can be fired, and further raise the stakes on standardized test scores.

But ideologically driven projects like this have a way of over reaching, over-promising, and overestimating their strength. . . .

They begin with the fundamental problem the education reform movement faces. We are more than 10 years into a massive reform effort revolving around high stakes attached to standardized tests, and there is no significant growth in actual learning — even in terms of the test scores most valued by proponents.”

The rest of his article is well worth the read whatever your viewpoint and is both a great summary of the problem with this pre-packaged, already decided agenda, and a good call to action as well.

Perhaps what is bothering me most about what I’m hearing from Education Nation is that this narrative is what the summit seems to be built around.  I had my own hopes that a summit like this could be an opportunity to look with fresh eyes at something and perhaps with many varied voices, shift the paradigm and open up new insights.

There are things wrong in schools, but perhaps some of the things wrong aren’t going to be fixed by an increased focus on achievement tests and scores.  And if we are continuing to tell the story as everyone already knows it, then where is the new insight or understanding?

Take a look at Cody’s essay–what do you think?

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