Political Will and Improving Public Schools: Seven Reflections for Americans to Consider (Hardcover)
The essays in this book deal with situations or issues in public education which we need to address. While some of these situations seem clear and almost obvious, making the necessary changes and admitting the truth to ourselves is not necessarily going to happen easily. The suggestions for education made here will require that Americans admit certain flaws in the system, some of which involve their own actions and attitudes. They will also have to be willing to make sacrifices for the larger good, such as allowing shifts in power and control. In other words, these changes will require political will, patience, and dedication if they are to be successful. There are many ideas for fixing our schools. They all demand a kind of faith, a promise to withhold judgment for a while until the new strategies are fully tested to decide whether or not they are effective. People can be impatient, wanting instant answers. They can also want assurance of success before every agreeing to allow a change to happen. These attitudes block experimentation and the attempt at change and improvement. Everyone will have to sacrifice, to take a risk, if we are to make real changes in the education system. All constituencies (students, teachers, administrators, parents, community members, institutions of higher education, teacher preparation programs, and unions) should be at the table. What they should be working toward is not their individual agendas or preservation, but the delivery of the best education possible to our youth.
Daniel Heller has been an educator since 1975.Besides teaching, Dan has served as a department head, director of professional development, principal, and curriculum coordinator. He has presented on educational topics throughout the United States and in Canada and China. His other books include Teachers Wanted: Attracting and Retaining Good Teachers (2004), Curriculum on the Edge of Survival: How Schools Fail to Prepare Students for Membership in a Democracy (2012) and Taoist Lessons for Educational Leaders: Gentle Pathways to Resolving Conflicts (2012). He has also published numerous articles, chapters, and columns for the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, Phi Delta Kappa, the National Council of Teachers of English, and others.