Educators Versus the Public
There's a new book out (and we will be reviewing it later), but I was struck by its finding of a "deep, broad divide between the opinions held by citizens and those who teach in the public schools".
Although the book concerns the American situation, I suspect that the situation is the same in Canada, and one of the reasons for my thinking this is the deep, broad divide manifested in our comments section. Our educators continually are astonished (and in some cases offended) by the hard line taken by us non-educators, and of course Stephen is trying hard to understand their intransigence. Here is the situation as I see it.
We non-educators think that the basic mission of schools is to ensure that all students emerge with the skills and knowledge they need to to thrive in today's complex and challenging society. Because we non-educators believe that this is not happening - far from it - we are unimpressed by the many dedicated teachers, the luxurious trappings, the apparently busy and happy students, the spurious test scores and graduation rates, and so forth. It's like going to see a movie in a cinema where the staff are working hard to please, the place is spotless, the food at the concessions is delicious, the sound system is fabulous..... but the movie is lousy.
The educators among us, correct me if I'm wrong, see the many good things that the schools are doing, and either play down the importance of the academic skills and knowledge sought by us non-educators, or have lower standards than our non-educators, or think that most students are acquiring adequate skills and knowledge. I'd be interested in our educators' take on this.
BTW, I am classifying myself as a non-educator even though I am a teacher through and through.