An article written by Paul Thomas highlights the ways that teachers are being forced to shed their professionalism and ethics. When was the last time we spoke directly to our teachers about their concerns without the pressures they face from above? Are the people we trust with our children being asked to do something they are not professionally comfortable with?
Few things will deteriorate a teacher’s passion more than the fatalism of conforming to mandates she/he feels are misguided. As with students, teachers need and deserve autonomy, voice, and action.
As a final real-world point: Some Common Core advocates have responded to me by stating that the math CC standards are better than what the state had before. My argument is that instead of advocating for CC, all teachers should be advocating for teacher autonomy and thus the professional embracing of best practice identified by our perspective fields—not mandated in public policy by non-teachers, and not linked to highs-stakes testing.
Education certainly needs reform, but that reform must come from the professionals and for the good of our students.
We don’t need standards to teach, we need students. And we don’t need test scores to know how we have done, we need the faces and voices of each child we teach.