Vision 20/20 – A Step in the Right Direction

Vision 2020 2

Vision 20/20 icons

Many people (me included) have spent a lot of time wringing their hands over what Bill and Melinda Gates, Warren Buffett, the Walton clan, and the Koch brothers are doing to public education.  As previously posted, I believe a big reason they have gained such a foothold in the conversation is because we the public educators have been too silent.   That’s why I am so optimistic about an effort called Vision 20/20. Their policy brief can be found here and the Executive Summary here.

Vision 20/20 is an effort by six professional associations to take back control of the conversation and influence the political decisions shaping public education here in Illinois.  The Illinois Association of School Administrators (IASA), Illinois Association of School Business Officials (IASBO), Illinois Principals Association (IPA), Illinois Association of Regional Superintendents of Schools (IARSS), Illinois Association of School Boards (IASB), Superintendents’ Commission for the Study of Demographics and Diversity (SCSDD) came together in November, 2012 to create Vision 20/20 and finalized their recommendations two years later.

They recognized that control of public education was slipping away from the professionals into the hands of non-educators.   They promote public education, saying, “As public educators, we believe public education works. We reject the premise that education in Illinois has failed but recognize its impact has not been equitably delivered to all student populations and that there are opportunities for continuous improvement.”

Vision 20/20’s stated outcomes are clear:

Conscious that no single legislative attempt at school improvement can be developed, implemented, or find success without the support, devotion, and hard work of all stakeholders, Vision 20/20 asks not just for state action, but also for local action and the support of educators across the state to fulfill the promise of public education. On behalf of the over two million schoolchildren in Illinois, we challenge the State Legislature, the Governor, and all stakeholders to take action.

Their report includes 24 state policy recommendations in four major areas, as described in their Policy Brief:

Highly Effective Educators – The quality of teachers and school leaders is the greatest predictor of student achievement schools can influence. By attracting, developing, and retaining our state’s best educators, we can have a profound impact on student learning.

21st Century Learning – For success in life, students need more than knowledge of math and reading. It is time to expand the definition of student learning, commit to the development of the “whole child,” and invest in policies proven to link all schools to 21st century learning tools.

Shared Accountability – A quality education for all Illinois students cannot be ensured without the collaboration, compromise, and hard work of both educators and legislators. With that in mind, it is necessary to expand educator responsibility in the legislative process, create a shared accountability model, and restructure mandates to allow more local district flexibility.

Equitable and Adequate Funding – All students in Illinois are entitled to a quality education. It is our duty to ensure our students have access to all necessary resources by improving equity in the funding model, appropriating adequate dollars for education, and allowing local school districts the autonomy needed to increase efficiency.

They are taking Vision 20/20 to local schools boards and asking them to endorse the plan – over 180 districts have done so already.  Their next step is to take the policy recommendations to the state legislature and try to get them enacted.  These are good steps forward, an attempt to make the needs of public schools be heard over the din of Common Core, budget woes, and high-stakes testing.  Their voice would be much louder with the addition of the Illinois Education Association and the Illinois Federation of Teachers.  Together, perhaps they can reclaim the right to shape education in Illinois.

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2 thoughts on “Vision 20/20 – A Step in the Right Direction

  1. After reading through the full report it is interesting that their isn’t one new idea in the proposal. This could have been proposed 10 years ago. In the case of the ROE, maybe a hundred years ago. What is lacking in the development of this plan is the embracing of technology and the dynamics that technology innovations can have on education. As I travel the country I see innovative schools that are spending less money and doing an amazing job improving student’s lives.
    Why are we talking about development of higher quality teachers when we have a system that doesn’t have an organizational system to support them. Can we ask the questions about ranking teachers, virtual education, 24/7 instructors and personal coaches?
    When are we going to challenge high-stakes test and move to personalized learning systems where the performance is measured continually. Technology now provides not only the ability to teach to standards, but to monitor the progress of achievement with far better reliability than any high-stakes test.
    Maybe the gap in this vision is due to the list of organizations involved. Would this have been a different report if IL-CTO or ICE had been involved?
    Finally, why is US Education the ONLY global industry that even comments on the need for technology. The rest of the world assumes technology and then plans accordingly, including out children. We just tell our children to turn off their technology at the school door.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree that with you that we still haven’t figured out how to use technology in schools. Part of this is a reliance on the “sage on the stage” to provide content. There is a lack of professional development to help teachers become competent in the use of technology. I doubt if many teachers would subscribe to the concept that their teaching should or even could be replaced with personalized learning systems.

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