Questioning the Authority of Reform
As education reform is bestowed on us as the do-all, be-all of school structure, it becomes necessary to question each piece of the new world order, so that we don’t throw out any possible merit that new ideas have to offer.
To avoid hearing worthless, canned responses, it is good to approach education leaders with well-planned questioning strategies that require them to think on the spot about just how their plans will affect real children living in real homes and attending real classrooms.
Participate in information meetings with a group of friends, each armed with one or two questions. If you are not satisfied with the answers you receive on the spot, follow up in writing and send the questions to all leaders involved in the decision to use the new concept or policy.
1. What does the new concept mean, really? Could you explain that, please?
2. Are there statistics available to support the plan, or will my child/the children in my school be a test case?
3. What benefits will this program have?
4. Will the new teaching strategy reach all children equally, or will it need to be modified for some?
5. If the new program is designed to meet the needs of only certain students, are there equally effective programs in place for other students?
6. Are teachers and assistants adequately trained in the new concept?
7. What is the cost of the program, and does the expected improvement warrant the time and money that will be needed to implement it?
8. Is there a current program that is already serving the assumed need adequately?
9. Will the necessary assessment be carried out every few months, or when appropriate, to assure that the new program or strategy is successful, worthwhile, and educationally sound?
10. Will those involved be willing to make adjustments, if necessary, or reverse or discontinue the plan, if it is found to be unsuccessful or to lack staff or parent support?
11. Has the program been tried in other schools? Are the other schools still utilizing the program? Was it successful? How do we know this?
12. Are options available for parents, teachers, and students who do not agree with or believe in the new concept?
From Not With Our Kids You Don’t! Ten Strategies to Save Our Schools, by Juanita Doyon, Heinemann, 2003 contact: Jedoyon@aol.com visit: www.mothersagainstwasl.org