Myths and Lies and Truth and Voice

I just ordered a book, and I can’t wait to get it.

Yesterday, I attended a panel presentation on Tempe’s ASU campus.  The authors of 50 Myths and Lies that Threaten America’s Public Schools: The Real Crisis in Education presented compelling (and concise) responses to many of the ideas used to deny public funding for education, increase “accountability” measures and overall increase the fear and blame in the converstaions about public schools in the last two decades.

Next door at the Gammage center, news media flocked to cover the Clinton Global initiative University event.

myths-and-lies-and-truth-and-voiceIn the education lecture hall with Dr. David Berliner and Dr. Gene V. Glass and 12 or so of the doctoral students who wrote the book with them were perhaps 100 concerned teachers, administrators, parents and community organizers there for the EdXChange event.  Several people commented that news media has largely given up on any sincere attempt to keep the public informed on ongoing issues in education.  I have to agree.  Privately funded think tanks and well-intentioned philanthropists get a lot of attention and have been allowed to frame the conversation surrounding public education.  That needs to change.

Most in the room seemed to concede that the effort to keep facts, research and common sense at the center of policy decisions in education would rest largely on the shoulders of teachers, researchers, and concerned citizens. We all share a responsibility to speak out, to share current information in the face of lies and easy “fixes,” and to organize ourselves in expanding circles of influence.  One of the authors talked about the importance of counternarratives in education.  I am hoping the day comes when educators can frame the narratives, and the dismantlers of public education must provide the counternarrative.

As a classroom teacher, I have  a voice.  I blog; I tweet; I participate as much as I can manage. I know that my personal strength is not in community organization. In fact, in day to day conversations on the topics, I have a hard time having the facts and research at my fingertips.  But I want to be a part of changing the way people talk about education. That is why I must order this book.  The authors have provided a rational and well-founded resource for those of us who want to take a stand, and need the facts in our back pockets and glove boxes.

Tell me, if I can afford another copy, to whom should I lend it?

 

Amethyst Hinton Sainz

I currently teach English Language Development at Rhodes Junior High in Mesa Public Schools. I love seeing the incredible growth in my students and being an advocate for them. I am a National Board Certified Teacher in Adolescent and Young Adult English Language Arts. Before this position I taught high school English in Arizona for 20 years.

My alma maters are Blue Ridge High School and the University of Arizona. My bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing and Philosophy led me toward the College of Education, and I soon realized that the creative challenges of teaching would fuel me throughout my career. My love of language, literature and culture led me to the Bread Loaf School of English at Middlebury College for my masters in English Literature. I am a fellow with the Southern Arizona Writing Project, and that professional development along with, later, the National Board process, has been the most influential and transformative learning for me. I enjoy teaching students across the spectrum of academic ability, and keeping up with new possibilities for technology in education, as well as exploring more topics in STEM.

In recent years, much of my professional development has focused on teacher leadership, but I feel like I am still searching for exactly what that means for me.

I live in Mesa, Arizona with my family. I enjoy them, as well as my vegetable garden, our backyard chickens, our dachshund Roxy, reading, writing, cooking (but not doing dishes), hiking and camping, and travel, among other things.

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