Responding to my musing about the lack of solidarity among new media resistance to education reform, Sherri Spelic cautioned:
Solidarity, yes. However, in movements in which the aim is to “speak with one voice” whose voices are most likely to be quieted or softened or pushed to the edges? I fear it is often women’s voices which are sacrificed more often than not.
Certainly the number of voices in the ed reform push back camp is growing and we have to realize that new readers, writers, lurkers are finding their way into social media daily. The edu blogosphere is expanding as educators attempt to keep up with what appears to be a runaway train. They are told they must blog and pin and tweet in order to call themselves “connected.” And that’s when folks who were here earliest and built those initial cults of edu personalities began to talk about how shallow and repetitive twitter was becoming and asking whether they shouldn’t move on….
We can add to the solidarity not by limiting our use of voice but by lending it where it may be needed: to uplift one or more of our colleagues in need, in support of the policies and movements which align with our common cause.
My initial response was appreciation for the ideal and thoughtful framing, and then, because of Spelic’s challenge, I was pushed to think better about what I was asking, to state better what I envision.
Solidarity, for me, does not require speaking with one voice, but speaking to shared goals.
Here, then, possibly to continue the conversation, I want to explore what those shared goals may be, keeping in mind we need them to be clear, attainable, and few:
- Seeking an end to one (preferred) educational experience for privileged children and another (worse) educational experience for “other people’s children.”
- Seeking a greater appreciation and realization of teaching as an autonomous profession.
- Confronting and ending inequitable punitive policies (academic and disciplinary) for marginalized populations of students along race, class, gender, and other status categories (English language learners, special needs students).
- Ending high-stakes accountability focusing on outcomes and implementing a structure that addresses equity of opportunity metrics.
- Calling for social reform that guarantees for all children that the coincidence of birth is not the dominant factor in their opportunities in life and education.
Among educators, researchers, political leaders, and the public, we will likely disagree about how to achieve these goals—that disagreement is likely important, in fact—but I believe we can and should be in solidarity for achieving these goals.