Academic journal article Phi Delta Kappan

Speak Carefully about Public Schools: Words Count, and Educators Must Think Carefully about How They Describe Their Work, Especially When Talking to Policy Makers and Community Members

Academic journal article Phi Delta Kappan

Speak Carefully about Public Schools: Words Count, and Educators Must Think Carefully about How They Describe Their Work, Especially When Talking to Policy Makers and Community Members

Article excerpt

Last year, Learning First Alliance (LFA) member organizations shared their perspectives and expertise in the "Transforming Learning" blog in Education Week, describing the work their members and stakeholders do to support public education throughout their careers. If you stumbled onto any of these postings, you learned that public education professionals work tirelessly to meet the needs of their students and that there is no silver bullet to fix what doesn't work in public schools. One goal of these essays was to reiterate what we know to be true as professional educators and seasoned policy makers, community members, and parents. Another goal was to frame the language for our individual and collective discussions about public schools in this country and the role those schools and districts play in our American way of life:

* Universal, publicly funded, education is our country's most important historic asset and needs commitment and support from all of us to succeed whether we have children in the schools or not.

* Meeting the needs and increased achievement requirements for all students is a complicated, multifaceted, and nuanced assignment.

* Professional educators and elected school officials at the state and local level do not support the status quo when that status quo has proven inadequate or unsuccessful in meeting student needs.

* Many, if not most, public schools do an excellent job of supporting student achievement, but when they don't, we all need to work together to make the changes necessary to serve students well, regardless of their socioeconomic or family situation.

* The knowledge and experience of public educators and policy makers should be respected, heard, and acted upon if we are to achieve sustainable, systemic improvement in the public schools. …

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