This week has been a rollercoaster of emotions stemming from watching NBC's coverage of Education Nation, having tough conversations with colleagues, reading the blogs of others, and also living out a career in a "turnaround" model school.
I am fearful of the demise of public education in this country. I believe that even with all of the circus with Education Nation this past week - that education will once again fall by the wayside. But, the honest truth is that it can't. If it does public education will be in a state of peril.
You see, I work is a school that is in trouble. We are not in a downtown urban setting, but rather in one of the biggest tourist destination in the country. We are a school that has adopted one of the federal differentiated accountability models, also known as a "turnaround". But, I fear that the focus is not on the dire need to reform what we are doing in these schools. We talk charters all the time - but, with 2000 students at our school, where are these students going to go. We must educate these students in these buildings. However, reform is not the correct option - we need to "blow it up" and begin all over again with the design of these schools.
It must begin with a topic discussed this week - tenure. The need to eliminate the educators who do nothing for our students is crucial to the success of these schools. We have them - others have them, and they need to go. We need to put quality educators in these classrooms and use some of the models that are working. Models like SLA, and so may others. Designing institutions that focus on student learning - nothing else - must be our mission. We need to flood these schools with resources including technology.
I know that this post is all over the place - but that is where my mind is right now.
The time for talking is over... action is what is needed now. I am doing my part and will graduate in December with my administrator certification - putting myself in a position to begin to influence the system. It is time for all of us, educators to stand up and take control of the system. While this will not happen overnight, it needs to happen.
It is our job to make sure that these schools and this system do not fail. I will pose a question to you as well. If not us - who?
Mike Meechin is an educator. He is employed by a school district in Central Florida as a high school social science teacher. Mike is also the owner of Innovate Education, LLC., an educational consulting firm in Central Florida.