Just got off of the phone with a woman running a virtual school without walls in the Midwest. There was one statement that stood out in mind during our conversation. “There are very few people in the region that get IT when it comes to education.”
I would say we were speaking for no more than five minutes before she made that statement. We both shared our backgrounds and journeys that led us to having a conversation about working together. Let me repeat, five minutes. Who knows where everything will go at this point, but the fact that it took us a matter of minutes to determine that we should find a way to work together is magical.
I also had a conversation last night with my brother-in-law who is a high school AP Physics teacher. He notified me that his school is pink slipping the entire staff as a way to get rid of poor performing teachers. Further, a neighboring district just announced a 10% pay cut to teachers that retroactively goes back to December 2010. It is March 2011… We then got to talking about unions negotiating on the behalf of individual teachers, a potential work stoppage, and continuous pay cuts over the last several years. We ended with him talking about leaving the teaching profession for the private sector where he can be rewarded for his efforts. This statement was extremely troublesome to me. My brother-in-law is a very intelligent guy who will be successful with whatever he does. He has no incentive to keep pushing and providing his students with new innovative ways to learn. Further, his pay keeps decreasing and there are half drunk teachers next door to him making twice as much.
We all know the system is broken, the entire way we deliver education must be changed, and new business and economic models must be created. I am tired writing about this.
My goal is to create a real call to action. One that will bring together a ground up, grassroots movement at both the k-12 and higher education levels where change agents with a variety of backgrounds and industries can gather and enact real change. Over the coming months uwemp is reaching out to individuals and groups to drive this mission forward to enact real change. We are actively creating a list and database of individuals we can launch a community around so please get in touch with me any time day or night at firstname.lastname@example.org.