Slice of Life Story - News and Views that Raise the Hackles

I probably should stop reading newspapers. I picked up the newspaper from the front of my house  and the headline that greeted me made another deliberately inflammatory statement regarding the so called ‘education revolution.’

Whenever I read about education in the print media, it so often involves the views of people so far removed from the reality of schools and their unique issues, that it is almost laughable. It doesn’t prevent them from espousing views that run counter to the efforts of committed educators and the communities they serve. Politicians talking about education frequently bandy about the term ‘accountability.’ You hear them blurt media grabs such as, ‘We need more accountability in schools, more transparency in reporting learning outcomes, parents are demanding more information!’

I have reached the conclusion that by transparency they actually mean ‘control.’ Politicians view education as something they can ‘appear’ to assert control over. They do this in the belief that it gains them kudos with their constituency. They view schools as a vulnerable target, and actually they’re right. Schools are vulnerable. -Vulnerable in terms of funding; vulnerable in terms of perception. As we know, everyone is an expert on education by virtue of the fact that they once attended school. It matters little to their pronouncements that schools and the delivery of education are an evolving entity, subject to change. The view of many is welded to some mythical golden era when schools were somehow much better.

Politicians pursue educational ‘accountability with a zeal that is not equally reflected in their dealings with lawyers, dentists, architects and similar professions. Educators deal with real accountability on an ongoing, daily basis when executing their duty of care. Accountability is not a foreign concept to teachers. It is at the forefront of their thinking- as it should be. This political, poll driven cry of ‘greater accountability in schools’ reminds me of the saying, ‘If a politician is telling you what’s wrong with schools, you’re probably looking at the problem.’

It’s tough. I love my daily dose of newspaper. Most mornings I am almost tempted to roll in the newsprint, such is the fix it provides. My hands are almost shaking as I battle with the plastic wrap surrounding the daily blather. However, there truly are days when the newspaper is only good for wrapping fish heads it seems…


  1. Yep, yep. I'm always wanting to say, then how about transparency in parenting--how can we teachers balance what is going on in a crazy home life? How do we teachers make up for parents who can't say no to video games, or parents who don't read, or a current curse: parents who over-schedule their kids so schoolwork can't get done and all the children learn is how to be distracted?

    Great insights into an ongoing discussion--I've got a few things to say about this as well today.

  2. This is beautiful. I am going to send your blog address to my Superintendent. He loves great writing and you certainly pulled that off this morning. I could not agree more with all that you said!

  3. For the longest time I've been listening to those "uneducated" voices talking about what they know nothing about. Educators, UNITE and WRITE!

  4. Amen to all that! Politicians and parents...argh! I love, love love what I do - but politicians and parents make things so difficult!

  5. Check out the editorial on the last page of PDK. He addresses this very issue- People's remembrances of school and the way it was stand in the way of progress. Interesting.

  6. Transparency certainly means control these days.

  7. There are far too many of the fish-head-only days, it seems. I can't seem to do without my news fix, however.


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