An Education Activist’s Dirty Little Secret
What I am most proud of is that this Blog has earned a sense of trust from educators. I am not a professional educator nor do I play one on TV. I’m just a parent that talks to a lot of educators and tries to convey their stories along with my observations as a parent. Every once in a while I get someone who asks if I would be willing to share something they wrote. I invariably say yes. The below was sent to me by an experienced teacher and it further explores the theme of not getting blinded by ideology. The issues are seldom as simple as we like to paint them. Thank you Mary Jo Cramb.
I first got inspired to get involved in education advocacy and activism when I read Diane Ravitch’s Reign of Error, then saw her speak here in Nashville. I stated attending meetings of the Badass Teachers, Coalition Advocating for Public Education, Statewide Organizing for Community Empowerment, and other groups, and I’ve made some good friends through these organizations. Since having my second kid, this work comprises a good portion of the adult socializing I get to do outside of my job and family. But there’s one thing I haven’t been very open about with my fellow advocates. I’ve been hiding a dirty little secret, and it’s time I came clean.
I got into teaching through the Nashville Teaching Fellows program (NTF), which is a local chapter of The New Teacher Project (TNTP). Education advocates and teacher activists don’t like this program, or its better-known, more insidious sister, Teach for America (TFA). I know their criticisms now, and agree with them. These programs devalue the teaching profession and throw newbies into the classroom with little training or hope of success. In exposing my past involvement with this organization, I hope to explain why I made the choices I did, and what these programs expose about larger problems in teacher education.
NTF, and its national organization, TNTP, are less objectionable than TFA for several reasons. The goal of TNTP is to recruit and train people who will make teaching their career, while TFA aims at selecting people who will move on to “bigger and better things” after completing their two-year commitment. I’ve heard that expressing enthusiasm for An Education Activist’s Dirty Little Secret « Dad Gone Wild: