Multi-talented science teacher Ms. Frizzle provides a nicely written account of a recent screening of Granito De Arena, a documentary about the political mobilization of teachers in Mexico, at the United Federation of Teachers’ headquarters in New York. During the discussion period after the film, there were fervid calls for greater activism on the part of U.S. teachers. But for Ms. Frizzle, something was missing from the conversation: a “meaningful vision of an alternative” to current school practices. She asks:
What would the [New York City] school system look like in our ideal world? If we did away with standardized testing, what would we replace it with as a means of ensuring that children throughout the system, from all ethnicities and income levels, were receiving a high quality education? And if education is, currently, under pressure to produce workers/consumers for corporations, what would the alternative look like?
There are some answers, and beginnings of answers, to these questions, but we are not coming together around a vision that we can present as an alternative. Partly, I think that once you get down to nuts & bolts, liberal conceptions of education are wildly disparate (which is fine, but hard to organize around).
A version of this news article first appeared in the Blogboard blog.