Friday, November 9, 2007

Grad. School Field Trip: Government and Education

Last night, Conversation 2007 had a meeting on campus. The idea was to get people from the community together to talk about education, then use what came out of this "conversation" to give state legislators input on the needs of the community.

Katherine took our class to this meeting. It's the first time I've had a field trip in college, and it was very, very interesting.

I have a hard time with politics/the government/beauracracy. Last night was no exception. I think the intentions behind this shindig were good, but it was far less informative than one could hope. Less "conversation" and more "well, this is what I think" and "okay, but what category does that go into?" I can't help but feel that we accomplished very little.

In any event, a handful of teachers were there, as well as a handful of students (college) and K-12 parents. Added to the mix were a few politicians, school administrators, and higher-ups from our very own campus.

A few telling things:

  • One of the greatest "needs" of educators was more money. (One of my classmates, who is also a K-12 teacher, vehemently disagreed that this was top-priority. She was more in favor of up-to-date materials and functioning classrooms, and giving teachers more authority to decide what goes on in their own classrooms.)
  • The group had a lengthy argument to define who was an educator that needs more money: We started with "classroom teachers," then someone said, "But music/art teachers should count too" (I know, I know, not a lot of thinking it through there), and someone from the first group said, "Really, we just meant that we're not talking about administrators."
  • The meeting was interrupted so a politician could give us all an "um" laden speech about the budget, because it's all about, um, money.
  • While the meeting was going on, some of our educational higher-ups were actively engaged and participating in the conversation (both in the small groups we broke into, and in the overall discussion). Some were ignoring it by, in one case, humming and doodling, and in two others, having a side conversation all their own. I can't help but question their priorities and whether or not I have much/any faith in them as a person in a position of power.

If you're curious to find out more about what this is, here's the website http://www.conversation2007.org/. However, at the time of this posting, said website isn't working. Doesn't that just say it all?

2 comments:

The One and Only John said...

Don't even get me started. Seriously.

Jenny said...

I'm with the teacher who says they need updated materials and more freedom to teach what they wanna.

But that takes money.

Don't we all need that?