Posted by: crudbasher | September 30, 2010

Are the Edu Reformers Listening too?

Crudbashers Law:

Since nobody is perfect, at least one thing you are sure about is wrong.

There are been much sound and fury on the web lately over “Waiting for Superman”.  Oprah got involved and even Bill Gates and the Facebook guy.

I was really amazed by the amount of conversation this provoked online.  Conversation is good right?  Reforming education is something we all have an interest in.  As Ken Robinson observed everyone has a strong opinion about education.

So in all of this conversation, was anyone listening? I hear a lot of people talking.  Politicians are talking, teacher are talking, billionaires and media people are talking but really when was the last time there was a conversation between two people on this issue that consisted of more than talking points?

You often see this in modern political “debates”.  To me a debate is of the type that Abraham Lincoln and Steven Douglas engaged in.  They met seven times and really seemed to have a good back and forth. Today’s political debates are nothing like this. Rarely do the candidates even address each other.  They just talk to the moderator and audience and ignore each other mostly. Waste of time IMHO.

I mention this because I sometimes see people on twitter who have fairly strong opinions about education reform issues.  I was like that last year.  I didn’t know too much about education policy but had been a teacher for 11 years in higher education.  FOr example, I thought NCLB was a good idea.  The students just needed to be held to a higher standard and they would meet it right?  Well once I started talking to teachers and people I respected in the education community I started to change my mind.  Now I realize that NCLB is not going to do what the reformers thought it would.  In fact it moves away from student-centric learning which I think is inevitably where all this leads.

There are people I follow on twitter who I disagree with on many issues. I follow them for that exact reason.  I try to keep asking myself if I am taking things for granted because we are entering a time of tremendous changes where really nothing is written in stone anymore.

People who cling to outdated education ideas will be bypassed.  The irony of the “education reformers” is they actually don’t have much control over the forces now shaping education.  It’s not something that can be directed from the top.  True reform will come at the ground level, by thousands of teachers evolving a little at a time, by companies and people offering learning in a different way, and by children who will want something different.

So my message to my fellow reformers is this:  Don’t talk all the time.  Stop and reflect every once in a while and above all, listen.

Any comments? I’m listening! 🙂


  1. Listening is important for all of us. The conversation that Waiting for Superman generated is a good thing, hopefully it will extend beyond conversation and lead to real thinking and even *gasp* action. What we forget in our fired up state, is that at the end of the day Waiting for Superman, Education Nation, Oprah…they aren’t in it for education. They are in it to make money. Fear and shock value sells.

    • I agree Kelly! There is almost a Trillion dollars at stake here, of course everyone is getting into it. Do you notice though that nobody is asking the kids how they want to learn?

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by, Andrew Barras. Andrew Barras said: Comments welcome: Are the Edu Reformers Listening too? #edchat #education […]

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