being a teacher, education reform, Student-centered

Want to Shut Educators Up? Tell Them "It Is For the Children…"

The oldest excuse in the book for change in education is, “We do it for the children.”  And it works!  Throw that baby on the discussion table and people just go silent.  After all, if it is for the children then it must be good.  If it is for the children then if we decide against it we are deciding against children.  If it is for the children then it must be researched and proven to benefit them.   And yet, we have all been fooled by this statement.  Purchasing a Smartboard – it is for the children.  Creating more tests – it is for the children.  Slashing school budgets – it is for the children.  Proposing merit pay – it is for the children.  Common Core standards – it is for the children.  Asking teachers to take pay cuts and freezes – it is for the children.  Bigger report cards with more homework and tests to report – oh yes, it is for the children.

Except most of the time it is not.  Because when were the children ever asked?  We say it is for the children and yet they never enter the actual decision-making or even discussion.  If you asked a child if they wanted more “rigor” in their education, I can almost guarantee that most of them would look at you like you were crazy.  If you ask them if they needed more grades or more tests, their answer might surprise you.  When teachers are asked to take pay cuts because otherwise our children will get hurt, most children would be sad to hear it.

So let’s cut the crap, sorry.  Most decisions in education is not for the children, but for the test company, for the district to look good, or for someone’s life to be easier.  It is not for the benefit of the children.  And yes, of course, we know more than the children but the fact that their voices are left out of the education debate and reform should be frightening to us all.  So start small; ask the children in your room and then tell me it is for the children.

1 thought on “Want to Shut Educators Up? Tell Them "It Is For the Children…"”

  1. As usual another great post. I do agree with you that we often perhaps never really ask the children and we do use this phrase as a conversation stopper. However as a Principal there have been times when I have had to make choices and weigh things. Sometimes those choices involve meeting teachers needs vs the needs of the students. In those types of decisions I often tell the teacher that in the end "Is is for the children" and make my choice/ decision based on that. Keep on sharing love reading your blogAkevy (@akevy613)

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