0110: I have a proposal. Teacher-Researcher-Policy Maker Hybrid? #SOSchat #education #edreform
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The course of education is charted in a strange way. Teachers teach and implement decisions made my some distant policy maker or maybe a demigod. The policy makers make decisions based on research someone did somewhere other than a classroom. The researchers are likely to be professors of maybe education, or maybe a part of some miraculously funded think-tank, or, and I had a chance to do this, by some meagerly paid ghost writer who probably needs a little money and will accept a couple of grand to do some hurried research, turn it in for review, and then have to alter the research to “better fit the needs of the organization” (won’t be doing that again— I have debt what can I say). And the cycle continues. Either way, the process is diluted, dishonest, and disconnected.
So, my proposal:
First, we alter the roles of all parties involved— researcher, policy maker, and teacher. We create a hybrid profession. Teachers will act as researchers, using their own research based practice to further develop solutions to the problem that is education. Then, they work on policy. Teachers who are researcher could go an write the policies that affect them and their students. But, what about the researchers and policy makers. They get to do the same thing. Each party works on all of it.
But, how could we do this? Teachers are underpaid, and many researchers and policy makers aren’t teachers. Exactly. We’ll deal with the pay later. Teachers become empowered when they control their own destiny. People are no different. Teachers need to be a part of making the decisions that affect them and their students. By participating in research they will undoubtedly become more reflective and analytical. The goal is to end the passivity and victimhood that often accompanies the profession. Policy makers and researchers would benefit from working in the field they are affecting. “Having worked in a field” and “working in a field” are different things. It’s easy to throw daggers if you know you’ll never be hit. And yes, I understand that there are experts. “Experts” and third parties can be helpful. It helps to have a critical eye, but the idea here is that we turn every eye critical, equally active, reflective, and productive. No longer would we have teachers, researchers, and policy makers (or reformers); rather, we would have Teacher-Researcher-Policy Makers, a brilliant hybrid of empowered and powerful educator-reformers. It would be true democracy. Now there would be many details to iron out, and much more chaff, but it’s a start. It’s a step toward democratic function.