In a reply to my Draconian and Dysfunctional post, Parry wrote:
But if we, as educators, fight accountability, ask decision-makers to lower the bar rather than raise it, can we maintain our credibility? In my opinion, if we want a seat at the decision-making table, our best hope is by setting higher expectations for ourselves and our work, and by translating those expectations into specific metric-based proposals.
This is a thought that really resonates with me because I believe that teachers ARE fighting accountability at every turn sometimes. Rarely do I ever enter into a conversation about student learning with teachers and leave feeling convinced that the members of our profession are ready to accept responsibility for the outcomes of our work.
Instead, almost every conversation becomes what I like to call a "because parade." If you’ve spent any time in a teacher workroom, you know exactly what I’m talking about—It’s the litany of excuses that we like to throw on the table every time that students struggle in our rooms.
"That kid is failing because he’s lazy."
"That one is failing because his parents are useless."
"That one is failing because he hasn’t done any homework all semester."
"I can’t reach these kids because I don’t have enough time in class."
"I can’t reach these kids because I don’t have the right supplies."
Now don’t get me wrong—there is some truth in every one of these statements. I just chafe because our colleagues are all too ready to throw down the "because" card as soon as negative results appear. And every time that we make excuses and refuse to admit that we play a leading role in the academic successes and failures of our students, we cheapen our voice in the general public.
Does anyone else think that it’s time that we stand up to those in our own profession who are an excuse waiting to happen? Let’s quit looking for someone else to place the blame on and work within our own spheres of influence to improve learning for all children—-and increase our credibility at the same time.
What would the first step look like for classroom teachers? Administrators? Curriculum Developers? Outside consultants? Policy makers?