Recent diaries have raised alarms about educational policy:
What I have NOT seen (and I am not that diligent looking for it) is SUBSTANTIVE DISCUSSION about what SHOULD be the educational policy given the undeniable impact of INTERNET and digital media.
All of us at DKOS are active internet users. We are no longer dependent on traditional media for our information. We can LEARN on our own, if we are motivated; we MUST learn on our own, given the desperate state of affairs.
I'm just a substitute teacher in public school, retired after teaching college (before I went on to other lines of work). The internet developed while I was teaching in the early 90's, but by the time I started subbing in public schools (just a couple of years ago), I was amazed at how much the internet and digital media have penetrated education.
(Cell phones, texting, etc. in classrooms is a troublesome issue, don't get me started)
As a sub, I am required to take rather minimal continuing education. Seems to me that I and other teachers need A LOT MORE continuing education, to be fully able to use the resources of internet and digital media.
I am all for tenure to protect teachers from political pressures, etc. But I also think teachers can AND SHOULD be motivated, incentivized, encouraged to get continuing ed.
Two examples from my experience:
1) Subbing in social science, I have been in a classroom where the very good teacher has a huge library of excellent documentary videos. Of course, as a sub, I have been assigned to show those videos. Typical substitute assignment, and I'm not saying it like it was a bad thing. To do my job I need digital media and internet skills, for which I need continuing education.
2) Subbing in Spanish. For a couple of teachers, I think they are doing fine but not really taking full advantage of internet and digital resources. I have pretty much taught myself Spanish, never took a formal class but spent a year in Mexico in the 60's. I have greatly improved my own Spanish with use of internet translation. No, you can't just take what the machine gives you, but you can use the machine to help you learn. When I sub in Spanish classes I discuss with students how to use online resources, NOT to avoid work, but to make their own learning experience BETTER. I believe in this. The trick is you compose in Spanish, not in English, and then you look at the English to see if it says what you mean. You can try different constructions easily to see how they affect the meaning in translation.
I acknowledge valid concerns in AFT and NEA positions, but I think they will make their case more effectively by acknowledging and somehow addressing the dramatic changes that have come with internet and digital media.