Re-Forming

The past 2 weeks my students have been studying the moon.  Today during the review I said a word I have heard way too often lately, but this was in a different context and I heard something in it I haven’t heard before.

We were reviewing the stages of the formation of the moon.  Their text (yeah I know, gasp, I used the text, but this is why) has a pretty cool illustration of the formation of the moon.  It broke it into 3 stages: collision, re-forming, and Earth & moon.  So during review I went back over it, collision is where an object hit the Earth *obvious *, then I got to the next stage “re-forming.” Before I could explain one of the kids called out that “re-forming” was obvious as well.  I asked the student to elaborate.  She said “reform, (not re-forming, reform. that is that word I keep hearing!) it was broken, in pieces everywhere.  Then it all just started coming together. By the end it was one piece, the  moon.”

REFORM.  How many times in the last week have you heard that word?  Seriously? Here is Wikipedia’s definition:

Reform means to put or change into an improved form or condition; to amend or improve by change of color or removal of faults or abuses.  Beneficial change, more specifically, reversion to a pure original state, to repair, restore or to correct.

So lets look at this definition and the one my student beautifully explained. Lets play “did it say?” I play this with my kids, even my own children a lot.  Did it say to sit around and gripe? NO.  Did it say to have non-experts on a TV show call themselves experts? NO.  Did it say point out the things that are negative and hope for the best? NO.  Did it say to compare apple and oranges? NO.

NO NO NO. Wikipedia uses word like “repair, restore, improved form, beneficial change (I LOVE THIS ONE), and removal of faults.”  My student said “it was broken…it all just started coming together…by the end it was one piece.”

WOW how awesome would it be if education reform was looked at in that manner?  If those “experts” used these terms?  We seriously need a beneficial change caused by everything coming together.  Propaganda, politicians who are un-qualified for their jobs, experts whose only experience in a classroom was as a student or the day the press caught them visiting one, is not the path needed to take for this reform. Goals need to be stated. Teachers who are passionate need to be heard.  Teachers who are labeled as “sub-par” need to be helped and taught. Most of all schools (not charter, but regular public schools) need to be praised for what they are doing correctly and used as examples for those not on the right path.

Lets take what is broken, come together, and be one piece.  Stop the teacher/school bashing. Stop the non-experts giving opinions.  Just stop. Start beneficial change.

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7 thoughts on “Re-Forming

  1. Josh says:

    A wise man once said, “a little less talk and a lot more action.” Maybe he didn’t exactly mean this type of education, but I too get tired of all the talk and nobobdy doing anything to make a difference. I don’t want to hear your ideas, I want to see what you’ve done.

  2. Patrick Larkin says:

    Amanda – Thanks for hitting the nail on the end. I am so upset at all off the negative views of schools that are being focused on as a way to move us forward. Hysteria never moves us forward, it bogs us down. People cannot react constructively when they are consumed with emotion.

    We need to share what is working, even if it is in small pockets, and try to replicate it in other places. I am nervous about the PR that will follow the widespread release of “Waiting for Superman and what it will bring. My feeling is that it will just lead to more politicians talking in generalities about what schools need to do with no real concrete examples of how this will happen.

  3. ScottW says:

    I agree with you folks. All the lip service in the world isn’t going to do a hill of beans to improve the education situation in Alabama. We need real, well thought-out planning and implementation if we’re ever going to pull this rabbit out of the hat. And leave the politics out of it! They’ll only screw it up.

  4. ktenkely says:

    From the mouth of babes I tell ya! Exactly, pointing out the problems has been done. What we need is for solutions to be offered, for the reforming to begin to take shape. Right now it is taking shape in classrooms all around the world. Can’t we share those stories and start offering each other ideas and hope for how this might take place? Enough of the rhetoric from people who have no idea what education needs.

  5. robynevansSSAT says:

    Great post Amanda. I’m based in the UK where we are in the midst of reforms and in our case it is re-forms with much of the focus being on new school structures akin to your charter schools. The plus is that the plicy talk is about getting bureaucrats out of the way and allowing schools to have more control, which is great news for my organisation, a charity which advocates school-led reform of education, but opinion is very divided if the policy model will be effective or not. I’m taking the liberty of tweeting your post to our followers.

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