Here is the second installment of The Educational Civil War.
Part II: Coercion vs. Choice
In this scene, Tony Stark is lecturing the Avengers on the merits of giving up their usual pursuits of justice for a more regulated approach. To paraphrase Mr. Stark...When he learned that his weapons were harming innocent people, he ceased those operations immediately.
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"Tony, you chose to do that. If we sign this, we surrender our right to choose. What if this panel sends us somewhere we don't think we should go? What if there's somewhere we need to go and they don't let us? I know we're not perfect, but the safest hands are still our own." Steve Rodgers - Captain America
What Cap's academic side meant was this: "<PLC Leader>, you chose to use <insert ineffective teaching strategy here>. If I decide to use <same ineffective strategy>, I surrender my ability to deliver quality instruction to my sweet kids. What if this PLC sends me on a wild goose chase and we waste instructional time? What if I see the need for a mid-course correction but this lesson design does not let me do it? I know I'm not the teacher-of-the-year, but my kids are safest when I am still Captain of the ship."The voices of educational coercion cut a wide swath from Washington DC all the way to the classroom across the hallway. And while he means well, Mr. Stark (your department head, principal,
or lieutenant governor), does not know YOUR kids like YOU know your kids.
As such, when those voices are raised louder and louder you must be willing to dig in your heels and stand up for the best interests of YOUR kids.
Before you go barricading your classroom door, however, let me make one thing clear: YOU must know that what YOU are doing is, in fact, best for the students in your classroom.
As educators we run the risk each and every day that some of our students may not learn what they are "supposed" to or, worse yet, what they want to. If you are on top of latest educational research, philosophy, trends, and technology, you are in a much better position to use your immense strengths and abilities to help your students find what they want and need most.
After all, though you are not perfect, the safest hands in your classroom should be your own.