The Indiana House of Representatives has sent an education bill to the House Education Committee that is worth noting on this blog (if you have any concerns about me commenting on this bill, please refer to the “disclaimer” tab at the top of the page). If the bill passes committee, it will then be returned to the House for a second reading, where proposed amendments and changes will be offered. If still supported by a majority of House members, it will then be engrossed (put in its finished form) and receive a third and final reading in the House. If a majority of the members vote yes to the finished bill, it will pass the House and go through the whole process again in the Senate. So the bill has a long way to go, and it could change form again, but let’s take a look.
HB 1357 calls for a loosening of standards for school superintendents, i.e. the Big Dogs of school administration. The bill Provides that a superintendent of schools is not required to hold a teacher’s or superintendent’s license… Repeals a requirement that a county superintendent of schools must have five years of successful teaching experience and hold a superintendent’s license.
So it appears that we’re looking to turn our schools into businesses! It would be one thing to run the “business” with trained professional educators, but we’re not even asking for that anymore. Donald Trump hasn’t taught in the classroom before, but he’s a good businessman, so he can run our schools. Wait, he doesn’t have any experience working with students ranging from k-12? He doesn’t know how kids think, study, or process information? He doesn’t know about current educational strategies used by professional teachers in the field today? That’s okay, he’ll hold the bottom line financially. I’m a businessman, my experience in business will solve our problems. Sound familiar?
If you have not seen it, I strongly urge you to read 2009 National Teacher of the Year Anthony Mullen’s famous blog post, “Teachers Should Be Seen and Not Heard.” After listening to noneducators bloviate about schools and teaching without once asking for his opinion, he was finally asked what he thought. He offered the following:
Where do I begin? I spent the last thirty minutes listening to a group of arrogant and condescending noneducators disrespect my colleagues and profession. I listened to a group of disingenuous people whose own self-interests guide their policies rather than the interests of children. I listened to a cabal of people who sit on national education committees that will have a profound impact on classroom teaching practices. And I heard nothing of value. “I’m thinking about the current health-care debate,” I said. “And I am wondering if I will be asked to sit on a national committee charged with the task of creating a core curriculum of medical procedures to be used in hospital emergency rooms.”
The strange little man cocks his head and, suddenly, the fly on the wall has everyone’s attention.
“I realize that most people would think I am unqualified to sit on such a committee because I am not a doctor, I have never worked in an emergency room, and I have never treated a single patient. So what? Today I have listened to people who are not teachers, have never worked in a classroom, and have never taught a single student tell me how to teach.”
It appears as if some of us still believe that teachers should be seen, not heard.