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Encouraging Educator Courage

Posted: 2013-09-17

Alfie Kohn's latest commentary in Education Week calls on teachers to be courageous--to dig deeper, take responsibility, to share power.

by Peter Farruggio

Published in Education Week. Alfie's Kohn's inspirational words to teachers to resist the corporate takeover of our schools. He concludes with a powerful point: the kids watch their teachers' behavior closely for guidance on how to live their own lives. When all they see is abject capitulation to the abuses by the powerful, they become cynical. Is that what we want for the future generations, docile followers instead of leaders?

In contrast, look at the teachers in Mexico, risking their own safety to protest the government's NCLB-style "reform"

Mexican teachers strike against reforms

Thousands of teachers protest Mexico education law

by Alfie Kohn

Education research doesn̢۪t always get the respect it deserves, but let̢۪s be honest: There̢۪s already enough of it to help us decide what to do (or stop doing) on many critical issues. Likewise, there are plenty of examples of outstanding classrooms and schools in which that research is being put into practice. What̢۪s lacking is sufficient courage for those examples to be widely followed.

It pains me to say this, but professionals in our field often seem content to work within the constraints of traditional policies and accepted assumptions—even when they don’t make sense. Conversely, too many educators seem to have lost their capacity to be outraged by outrageous things. Handed foolish and destructive mandates, they respond only by requesting guidance on how to implement them. . . .

The rest of Alfie's call to arms can be found here.

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