What a wild ride this election season has been. I’m not going to talk politics, but I do want to highlight one observation: Many people have turned against the establishment. They have had it with trying to work within a system they feel is rigged, and are done with an elite few making decisions for the many. And to these voters, it’s not about the details, it’s about voting against the establishment.
In my last blog post, I mentioned how decades of regulation made by a few people in a room far beyond your classroom have left teachers — and, by extension, students —at the mercy of others who don’t know their challenges. Teachers are the ones who know and understand their students’ needs. Educators see how illogical it is for the “Inside-the-Beltway” group, as I call them, to be calling the shots about public education across this diverse nation. And finally, with the new Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), it seems regulators are acknowledging how illogical this has been. To a great extent, ESSA puts the power to make decisions back in your hands, where it should have been all along. This is the result of educators pushing back against a steady stream of regulations, standards, tests and evaluations that distracted them from doing what they wanted to do — prepare students for successful careers and lives. You knew the education establishment, however positive their intentions, was keeping students stuck in Quads A and C. So you made noise. Good for you. You advocated for your students and their best interests, and I believe you are being heard!
The result? In essence, ESSA has provided you with the long-overdue ability to plan your own instruction. For us in education, it’s no longer about pushing against the establishment. Now it’s about the details, and you have been handed the chance to partner with your communities and sort through what is best for your students.
It’s like the dog who chased the bus and caught it. Now what?
As thousands of people across the country support candidates who give voice to their frustrations, you, educators, already have a victory in hand. Let’s not squander it. Let’s get strategic and future-focused as we reclaim our authority over the policies and curriculum in our districts, schools and classrooms.