I can’t say I watch much television, but I’ve been seeing this commercial a lot lately, and I find it a bit disturbing. Watch it. (It’s only 30 seconds.)
If we want to improve our schools, what should we invest in? – Great questions…you’ve got my attention!
Maybe new buildings? – Maybe. But it’s about more than stuff.
What about updated equipment? – Maybe again. We’ve tried integrating technology. One thing is clear – it’s more than just the stuff. We need to work with teachers (and school leaders) to change teaching practice, school structures and culture now that students have access to just about anything through a computing device. If we don’t change the practice, structure and culture, what’s different?
They can help. – They can, but it’s more complex than just providing nice shiny buildings and technology.
But recent research shows nothing transforms schools like investing in advanced teacher education. – Hmmm….wonder what the research is. And how are they defining “transform”? Better test scores? And what is “advanced teacher education”? It’s not clear, but it probably doesn’t include changing teaching practices. Just look at the images in the video – teacher at the front of the room, students in rows. No collaboration. No connection to the world. Very “factory model.” Notice the computers disappeared after a two-second appearance. Honestly, how can we possibly be preparing students for college and career in this kind of learning environment.
Let’s build a strong foundation.
Let’s invest in our teachers so they can inspire our students. – Yes…we need to develop our teaching professionals better, but what is the framework. This 30-second clip has a limited and dated framework. Evaluating teachers in standardized ways (what we’ve been doing to students for the past decade we are now starting to do to teachers) and linking student performance on standardized test scores to teacher evaluation is no way to “build a strong foundation.”
Let’s solve this. – Not with Exxon’s simple-minded thinking.
How would you answer the original question?
If we want to improve our schools, what should we invest in?