But who is responsible for making changes? I've talked to frustrated teachers who say that picky parents are the problem; I've talked to frustrated parents who say that fossilized teachers are the problem, and I've talked to students who say that neither their teachers or parents are meeting their needs.
Teachers don't lack the research and direction to improve school, but they do largely lack the courage. The public doesn't lack the courage but they do largely lack the research and direction. Together, parents, teachers and students must work together and support each other in making school a better place.
I've been a teacher longer than I've been a parent, so I have spent more time and effort encouraging teachers to make school different and better; however, I'm recently finding myself spending more time and effort encouraging parents to challenge traditional School. There are likely two reasons for this:
1. My daughter Kayley is entering Kindergarten this September and I find myself thinking a lot about how I will work with her teachers to make school different and better.
2. For the past two years, I have taught in a children's inpatient psychiatric assessment unit where I have worked with children who are abused and neglected, and many of them have been wounded by school. During this time, I've worked with parents and teachers so that they could better meet their children's complex needs.When I was reading Madeline Levine's book Teach Your Children Well, I found myself struck by this:
Parents are often willing to make changes faster than the institutions around them. The pace of institutional change can be positively glacial compared with the vigor of a parent who feels his or her child is in jeopardy.Many of us have experienced the bureaucratic friction that large systems develop. Apathy and cynicism are as predictable as they are unfortunate; however, we must remember that all revolutions are impossible until they happen. Always remember this:
"The most common way people give up power is by believing they don't have any." (Alice Walker)