- Posted October 12, 2012 by
Albuquerque, New Mexico
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Final presidential debate: Unanswered questions
The debate did not touch education, nor did the debate between presidential cantidates last week. Obama has vaguely promised "reforms" in NCLB, however I would wish, before deciding which cantidated to vote for, that both cantidates delineate what their plans on this subject in some more substantive detail, are and vision is in this area that is reflective of the policy implications, if either cantidate will actually own them. It seems utterly peculiar to me that in an election which is critically about the future and direction of our country, the practice of artfully, if institutionally, educating our youth does not warrant more air time than a soundbite from either side. This is my main complaint I suppose.
Secondly, Biden's behavior, while I hear various spin doctors defend it, seems to show a true lack of capacity to listen respectfully to differnt perspective . Where debates are in a sense "educational" they shoiuld take a tip from classroom teachers and do a better job of appreciating others' perspectives. We are all americans. Perhaps while presiding over the senate in his capacity as vice president, this skill would have come in handy. Maybe some classroom management techniques, adapted from educational research, truly would help brake the gridlock. Maybe we wouldn't be beholden to a disfunctional situation where the congress cannot act effectively enough to even pass a budget. Perhaps we do too little to see the common ground, but we do not hold polititions to the same professional standard in this as we do teachers, and we should.
Speaking of which, why isn't that a topic of the disfunction in congress brought up by moderators, I wonder. Surely this issue affects all americans. WE are paying for people to sit on their ass. No teacher could survive that habit nor any school pass its required tests with that dynamic. Biden did alude to it toinght, I noticed, immediately after his "riff" about "yoiu guys get out of the way" ; however even in a debate, these moments of "us" verses "them" when delivered in the manner in which that one was, are ultimately counterproductive in my opinion. Ryan did not answer the question about the "tone" of political ads, instead trumpeting a politico response because the man asking was a veteran and he was looking to cash in some poliitcal capital. So obvious.
The winner of the debate was the would be voter. There were many great moments. However, we are entering a post modern era that demands more of our cantidates. There is no such thing as a silly question. Remember that one. Teachers do. We live by it, or don't teach effectively. In a classroom its about building culture, as it should be in a debate - as much as about making choices. Wouldn't it be nice to speak pundit speak and actually answer the actual question, Public servants must mind their egos - very critically. Teachers are on stage every day. We understand.
Unlike the polititans I truly see my impact on the world from the "trenches" as significant. I';m trying to teach my students to think about things critically; which is why I teach science, though I also have an English degree. I really believe that more broadly this is fundamental.
Paul Ryan resonated with me when discussing foreign policy as he said he wanted to be mindful of not losing gains our soldiers had achieved. I did not agree with "stepping into it" when President Bush went to the Middle east, but once there, I felt precipitous withdrawl was then the greatest danger to our national security. I feel it is responsible to remember that in light of the 2014 timeline the cantidates mentioned. I suppose Biden made a point about deadlines; but any school knows that cultural change takes root in the mind and heart, not an arbitrary deadline. I really think that we will only delay, not solve any of our problems without leadership articulating a position that is willing to recognize this. Again - ask teachers . I have been involved in adult education, high school education, college educaiton, etc.
In true leadership one must really see 360 degrees. The best teachers understand that it is about their leadership only in so far as it benefits students' learning. It is about the learners. I keep wondering which cantidate sees 360 degrees, not by the artful delivery or regurgitated slogan, rehersed zinger, is this evidint, but by who has the humility ot focus to truly entertain another's point of view long enough to develop collaborative ideas from collaborative ideals. Again, this is not happening lately in congress, and it should.
I fear the same for our children, losing educational gains as we also lose schools and contractor jobs and ambassadors overseas. LIfe is probably simpler for most in the school environment; however it is also a resonant laboratory that informs through teachers and students and administration, many more aspects of leadership. Maybe our would be leaders should take a lesson from schools that work.
My sister lives In DC and I am aware of their local school troubles. Perhaps if they could be inspired by working high schools, one such as I am fortunate enough to work at, our young peoples' tremendous potential would rub off.
Thank you. Your feedback would be most appreciated.