Monday, June 30, 2014

#10summerblogs: The thing that confuses both liberals and conservatives.

@solutiontree tweeted out this article today:

It's titled: It's about education, Stupid. An article about a mentoring program in the District of Columbia that is heart warming and inspirational.

However, it starts with this sentence: If there is any issue that stumps liberals and conservatives alike, it is what to do about the crisis in public education in our high schools...

The thing that jumped out at me is the inclusion of liberals and conservatives in the conversation about a crisis in public education.


Do I think there is a crisis in public education? Yes.
Do I think that it is a partisan issue? NO WAY!

I do promise this in no way will be political blog. But the knee-jerk reaction to look to the left and the right when finding the answer to the crisis in public education rather than inside the "crisis in public education" is, at its heart...uneducated.

I have never sat in a meeting where we were organized by political party. Imagine a person sitting at the door asking you your political affiliation. It seems preposterous.

When looking for the answers to the concerns we have about education, let us look squarely in the eyes of those who educate for the solution. The minds that stand in front of our children are the first line of defense in the crisis in education. Not only do they know the skills and benchmarks our children need to achieve, they have the relationships with their students to make it a reality.

Teachers, we have the answers. When school opens this fall, it's time to get to work.

Your comments are welcome and encouraged.

Dane Barner


  1. Hmm, I don't really get that article intro either. The rest of the article doesn't really address it as a partisan issue. I think (just as the title) it was put there to get your attention, maybe. In the meantime, I agree with what you said about not having meetings where we are seated/separated by political party. That seems absurd, yet people try to make every issue or conflict related to politics. Hopefully as teachers we can take on our challenges in a joint effort despite politics and every other little issue that could separate us.

  2. I agree. Apart from the article, I just thought the sentence was absurd. One of the many things I admire our teachers is that they will bring there opinions and theirs ears! Collaboration is key in all schools. My school does it VERY well.

  3. I think that politicians do try to solve what they perceive to be the key problems in education (Bush's No Child Left Behind, Obama's Race to the Top) and their programs then become "liberal" or "conservative" debating points. Here in Texas, the parents who lobbied to reduce the number of high school STAAR tests required for graduation from 15 to 5 tried to keep politics out of their effort, but look at the verb I just had to use: they lobbied. It was up to the legislature to make it happen, and the chair of the committee who championed their cause and passed the bill now claims it as a victory for his "conservative" politics.

    So yes, I can see why Lanny Davis began his article that way. It is politicians who are mandating standardized testing, and standardized testing is a part of what teachers have to deal with. Politicians also control school funding, and I believe that money (safe, well-lit, well-equipped buildings, full time nurses and counselors, ratio of teacher to students, retention of experienced teachers, budget for sending teachers to PD, and more) can make a difference in a child's education.

    Fortunately, dedicated teachers do have more control than the politicians when it comes to their own individual professional development and what happens within the walls of their own classrooms. We have the power of connection, of access to best-practice and a wealth of resources that does not depend on any party politics. Caring, involved administrators and dedicated teachers forge ahead, determined to change what is wrong with education in their own schools, communities, countries...

    Meanwhile, yes--liberal and conservative politicians continue to put their two cents and their (our?) millions of dollars into "fixing" the problems as well.