Education Under Attack
As a life-long educator, I have observed a change in attitude about public education. Like many Americans, I have been a part of the educational system since I was in kindergarten (1957 for me). Back then, our teachers, administrators, schools, and educational system were respected. One of my earliest memories was when my mom invited my teacher Mrs. Crandall to lunch at our house. People did things like that back then – I don’t think they do them now.
The purpose of this blog is to identify attacks on public education, share my thoughts about why these attacks will ultimately harm America, and encourage readers to join in a discussion about these issues.
Before getting too far, some context for the reader:
I am a recently retired educator. My undergraduate work was done at the University of Michigan (Go Blue!) and I graduated with a degree in elementary education in 1974. Teaching jobs were hard to find back then and I searched throughout the midwest for positions, and was hired by Morgan Park Academy, a small private school on the south side of Chicago. I team-taught sixth grade math, science and social studies there from 1975-1980. It was during this period that I was introduced to educational computing –MPA had purchased a mini-computer (IMSAI 8080) with several terminals. You couldn’t buy educational software back then so those of us who wanted to use the computer had to learn the BASIC programming language. The first educational software program I wrote (circa 1978) was a math facts relay race.
My next position was at Lakeview Junior High in the Center Cass School District 66 (Darien, Illinois). There I taught math and science and informally ran the computer program. During my tenure there (1980-1984) I continued to use computers with students, and was sought out by other teachers who had an interest in using technology to supplement their instruction. I soon began conducting computer classes for my colleagues during institute days and after school.
About this time the State of Illinois was looking for ways to support the use of technology in schools. The state formed Computer Consortia at the county level in 1984 and I became a staff member for the DuPage-Kane Computer Consortia in 1985 – we called the organization Cadre. I like to think I taught most of the teachers in the area how to use AppleWorks and PrintShop, having done hundreds of workshops during that time. I enjoyed every minute working at Cadre.
After four years with Cadre, I accepted a position as the Coordinator for Staff Development for the Glenbard High School District 87. I worked at Glenbard for the next 16 years, becoming the Director of School Improvement, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, and even a brief stint as Interim Superintendent. My proudest accomplishment at Glenbard was, thanks to the vision of superintendent Robert “Bear” Stevens, to implement a program whereby staff members were provided a computer if they agreed to participate in 70 hours of staff development.
I left Glenbard to became the Superintendent of Schools for the Lyons Elementary School District 103 in 2006 and retired from there in June, 2012. At the superintendent level I became cognizant of all the different levels from which education is being attacked –parents, teachers’ union, the media, local politicians, state politicians, and the federal department of education. By the time I retired I felt an obligation to bring attacks on public education to the attention of others.
I hope you enjoy my blog posts but more importantly I hope you come to understand how America’s public education system is under attack and what you can do to fight back.