Stephen Colbert tickles my funnybone. A lot. He has his finger on the zeitgeist of America. These days, my good pal Stephen often talks about “truthiness.” As always, he’s spot on: We’ve got a whole lotta truthiness going around in our country these days. What we’re lacking is truth. Especially when it comes to the public discourse about education reform.
I believe public education is a harbinger of our national spirit. The way we approach public education sends strong signals–to America’s students about our faith in their talents, their dreams and their ambitions, and to all of us who believe excellence in education and ample investment in public schools is a common good.
Of late, there’s been a strong, positive move in our country’s public education policy away from truthiness. We are starting to look at the truth—often hard truth—about what we’re giving our children–all of them, regardless of the color of their skin or the size of their family income.
The move to a Common Core is essentially a public discussion of what we want our kids to know. Federal programs such as Race To The Top and the in need of refreshing No Child Left Behind legislation are geared toward excellence and demands that we have high expectations for every American student The US Department of Education’s push for a concerted effort to turn around our country’s 5,000 worst public schools, those that are producing an outsized percentage of students who dropout or fail to develop the skills to succeed after high school are positive.
Of course, there still is enough truthiness around to fill many hours of Colbert’s show. VIVA Teachers believes the antidote lies in listening to classroom teachers. Classroom teachers bear the brunt of the crazy consequences of policy wrought from truthiness rather than truth.
It’s simply time to let classroom teachers speak for themselves and for public officials and public administrators to listen before acting. If we keep engaging in the dance of truthiness, our children will continue to suffer with subpar educational environments, a low bar on what we call “knowledge” and the scourge of dramatic inequality. More importantly, we’ll all suffer
from the erosion of our government, a lack of ability to have a reasoned public discussion about anything and more of the name calling and mud slinging from our public officials that does nothing to move our country forward.