Education reformers are certainly guilty of too often using the “cram-it-down-your-throat” approach to change management. While this usually produces short terms gains toward whatever policy-end being advanced, it also does untold damage to relationships, positive cultures, and existing systems that might actually be doing a lot of good along the way.

Pushing back against the ideas and approaches of education reform is one thing, but if your answer is simply “no” (or the more common “HELL NO”) I fear your utility as a collaborator and partner is fairly limited.

If your answer is that common core standards and assessments, real educator accountability and recognition, increased school choice and diversity, and the implementation of economically and rationally-based human capital strategies must never, never, never exist in any form in the American public school system, you are likely to be seen as part of the problem, and not the solution.

The voice of the opposition is important, critical even, if our best thinking is to emerge. But the opposition to education reform needs an alternate and compelling vision of how American schools should be changing – not how they should resist change.

Unflinching advocacy of the status quo has never proven to be an effective long-term strategy. It’s fine if you don’t like the current movement of education reform, but crying “teacher-hater” and digging in your heels is wearing old.

I’m not saying that there aren’t those opposed to the current model of education reform who don’t have viable ideas for a positive alternate vision. It’s time that compelling and positive alternate vision came to the table. Sorry, but “let’s get back to the good old days” isn’t it.

Jason Glass
Columbus, OH