Lessons from the Ground
"The first stark contrast between the two education reforms (Philippines versus Finland): The president of the Philippines assumes he has the knowhow to fix the basic education system and enumerates specific actions to be taken. On the other hand, the Finnish approach begins with principles to guide the reform. The second glaring difference is the lack of acknowledgement of the role of teachers in reforming education. It is therefore not surprising that present efforts in the Philippines only involve dictating to teachers what they should teach and how they should teach. After all, everything has been laid out already by the president, there is no longer any input needed from the teachers. Finnish education reform involves a much deeper conversion. It includes a paradigm shift in which all sectors of society begin to see what basic education really is. Hence, the Finnish reform is characterized by elements, not specific steps or actions. These elements are essentially the values on which education policies in Finland were built."
|Students lit candles to show their solidarity with UP student Kristel Tejada|
Photo downloaded from Mon Ramirez Facebook page
Jacquie Jones herself wrote the following in the Huffington Post to describe what this feature film is about:
"...my honest answer on whether or not you should watch really depends on how interested you are in the top-down, mostly privately-funded school reform "movement" currently shaping our national education policy and the impact it's having on black and brown and, most especially, poor children. From a purely civic discourse perspective, I find that we hear a lot from "experts" who have very little direct experience with what goes on in a public school and seem not to understand that children, like adults, bring long histories with them that impact everything they do -- from forming relationships to mastering complicated physics principles.
These experts also seem to be strangely unaware of the disparities that go hand-in-hand with the grinding poverty that nearly one in four American children -- and 40 percent of children in DC -- are born into. As the principal of the school once said to me, "If a kid is hiding from the police tonight, trust me, he's not thinking about his Algebra II quiz tomorrow."
I have been to several conferences lately where attendees seem to believe that some magical combination of "accountability," volunteer mentors, longer school days and adaptive learning technology are all that's needed to reverse several generations of ingrained disenfranchisement, chronic displacement, food and housing insecurity and more. It seems to be quite literally a different world to the one in which children are parents, parents are absent and schools are expected to solve not just the problems of "reading, writing and arithmetic," but all of the problems of society as well...."
We need not wait for lessons from the ground such as the tragedy of a student committing suicide. There are already numerous lessons before us.