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Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Educon 2.9 Takeaways: The Democratic School

It's always interesting to think about the words that resound after attending a conference or workshop. For me, words that resound from educon 2.9 are democratic school. Deborah Meier gave many examples of why democratic schools are powerful, successful schools, and I agree.

I liked the way that Meier encouraged us to only accept fair, just treatment as well as to work for greater democracy in schools for all stakeholders so that everyone has voice in respectful, inclusive ways. I've been thinking a lot about how we make that happen for students, educators, and families. When does democracy reign in schools and when doesn't it.

My biggest complaint about the lack of democracy in schools is connected to decision making and communication. Too often important information is not forthcoming and secretive. What I dislike most about this is the time that's wasted when information is not transparent and forthcoming. I also don't like that "peon feeling" you get when you're left out of the loop of information that affects your work. I also don't like when decisions are made for my work without my input or consideration. Too often a new curriculum, approach, or mandate will arrive without any teacher input. This again is problematic for so many reasons. I also don't like the fact that a lack of democracy at the teacher-level transcends often to a lack of democracy at the student level.

In the days ahead I'll be thinking about how I can work to promote more democratic schools, the kind of schools where leadership is shared by all stakeholders in ways that positively impact the work we do with and for students and families.

In what ways are your schools democratic? How is that visible in credible and empowering ways? How are your schools undemocratic and how does that impede the good work possible?

I'll continue to think on this resounding theme, democratic schools, and I welcome your thoughts and ideas.