I came across a quote today that really struck me because it seems to encompass everything I have been thinking about the future of education. It was in a comment on Larry Ferlazzo’s blog. Commentor, Tom King, referred to an aphorism about Thomas Edison, whose author I was unable to identify:
“When he set out to invent the light bulb, Edison was not tinkering with candles.”
Sometimes being a classroom teacher can be frustrating for reasons that have nothing to do with students or parents. Sometimes having an active PLN, reading blogs, and following news can be disheartening. We are powerful people in the lives of our students, but impotent in so many of the places where decisions are made. We know that the push for standardization of EVERYTHING in education is counterproductive. We want desperately to point out that what is wrong with the American public school system is not going to be fixed easily.
It is clear to nearly everyone with classroom experience that today’s reform ideas are nothing but tinkering with candles. Moreover, any successful change to our education system is going to require the feedback, buy-in, and support of classroom teachers. Yet, we are the group with the least amount of control over the big issues: curriculum, class size, merit-based pay, etc.
And that is why, no matter how much information I gather about the education debate, and how many opinions I listen to, I still try to focus on my one little classroom. Because, when push comes to shove, that’s the only place where I have control.
Am I being too (uncharacteristically) jaded?