Education and Community: The collective wisdom|
of teachers, parents, and members of our community.
POLITICSMaking schools responsive and responsible to children must be the focus of schooling contends Mann. He continues by adding that "empowering teachers" unfortunately causes system's goals to be more aligned with their own goals. "The collision between the control by professionals and control by the public becomes more imminent as pedagogy becomes more definitive. (p47) So in a hard decision goal making arena, the leader cannot walk away and leave the teacher to his or her methods." Democracy is not a way to run a school is the message emerging. He continues to suggest that change is a challenge to authority, to the status quo. Any change is doomed to fail if it is put into the hands of the teachers. Why? They do not believe it, they didn't invent it, it hasn't been tested, what does my union say. In addition asking teachers to volunteer leaves out the mediocre to weak teachers and involves the better teachers who aren't the most needy candidates to implement the change. (p44) The problem as outlined by Mann is that the best teachers become involved while the mediocre and bad teachers remain untouched. Again the attention is put on the teacher for implementing. As Mann points out that is sporadic at best. Lots of conflict. Reform is solely on the shoulders of teachers, who have wrested it from everyone. Reform involves everyone and is for the benefit of the student. The politics involve teachers who want a higher salary, a school board which is trying to spend the least for the most, and parents who want a good return on their taxes spent. (p41) Buried in here is the message that the education of the child is the business of everyone, the community.
On the matter of change, Mann points out that change is a priority only if the current outcomes are unsatisfactory and could be improved. The new learning pill is the computer. Autonomy of teachers puts implementation behind too many closed doors. Problem is that solution is dispersed and not connected. If teachers control reform movement, Mann contends it will stand still. Too many players, unions, and comfort level are a few reasons why change will not happen if teachers are in control. Shift control of change. (p42) Change is related to knowledge, to attitudes, and/or to behavior. Changing requires that all three be affected. Knowing what is good, having a positive attitude about what is good and behaving in goodly manner. Change is not radical if it yields more of what public schools are about. The key is to provide the teachers continuing skills to solve whatever problems are presented, he calls 'capacity building.' (p46) Capacity building is telementoring, the Learning Society, the community.