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Friday, July 22, 2016

Education Advocacy: Optimal Education Change and Development

I've been advocating for a long time for change in schools.

My advocacy has been successful at times and not successful at times.

Some say, "You repeat yourself."

My response is that I repeat when change does not happen and I continue to read and see good rationale for change.

My greatest desire for change right now includes the following:
  • I want to be able to manage the technology used in my classroom without a lengthy curation process.  I want to be able to go to a conference, identify a terrific tool, and readily try out that tool in my classroom without a lengthy curation process that involves many, many people. This curation process creates a wall between what we do now and what's possible. I've been at a fabulous conference all week and yearn to have the academic freedom that so many educators have to use the wonderful tools I've learned about from awesome educators all over the world. 
  • I want to be able to download great tech on my school computer that I want to try it out without permission from the tech department. I'm an experienced educator who gives professional learning lots and lots of time and attention. I know the standards well. I believe that educators deserve academic freedom and the ability to try out good new tools with students.
  • I want to have support for new ideas. I don't want to have to go through multiple processes just to try out a new field trip, tech tool, teaching practice, or classroom arrangement.
  • I want a more responsive purchasing process so that when I need something to teach well, I can typically get it rather than have to advocate for a long time or wait a year or so to obtain the helpful tool. 
  • I want an open minded, flexible thinking learning community that is aware of the many wonderful changes that are happening with regard to teaching and learning all children--a community that has ready processes of idea exchange, debate, learning design, reflection, assessment, and revision. 
I truly believe the single greatest reason why schools are slow to change lies at the systematic level. At this conference I've noticed how teachers with academic freedom and systematic support are readily moving their programs and systems ahead. In these systems, the voice of the teacher is regarded well, and educators are given tremendous choice with regard to how to teach well.

That's not to say that one teacher knows it all, but it is to say that teachers are well educated, committed professionals who know their students well. We take pride in our work and want to move schools forward to teach all students well. We need more systematic support and freedom to do our jobs well. 

This systematic support would include the following:
  • Streamlined, effective, forward thinking systems of support.
  • Terrific professional learning and regular transparent and inclusive share of new ideas and questions.
  • Open minded, positive response to new ideas and risk taking.
  • Acknowledgement that everyone in the learning community including students, families, educators, administrators, and community members are important and employment of models of distributive leadership support the best that we can do in schools. 
I long for dynamic learning and teaching organizations. There is so much we can do to elevate and celebrate learning and teaching in every school in ways that matter. The Building Learning Communities (BLC) conference has reenergized this vision in me, a vision I will continue to advocate for with colleagues, community members, and others. 

I look forward to your support in this journey. Share your advocacy wisdom with me as I encourage systems to embrace the best ways to teach and learn.