Countering the Negative Spin on Education

Does it feel like educators are constantly under attack? From sensational media stories about failing schools to public opinion polls that blame teachers for the downfall of modern society . . . where is all this negative energy coming from? Can we attribute it to the media’s endless hunger for controversy, or do real problems arise from within the profession itself?

And why is it that people think teaching is easy? “I have heard people state that those who can, do and those who can’t, teach. What these nonteachers fail to realize is that teaching is doing; it is doing a multitude of challenging tasks every day,” says education professor Angela Dalhoe in her recent ASCD Express article, “Those Who Can, Teach.”

“I believe that my students could find success in many other career paths, but they choose to teach. They choose this amid the current downspin; they choose this path because of their desire to become effective educators,” she writes. Diane Ravitch also wants to rewrite this “poisonous narrative” about education because too many politicians who know too little about teaching are making decisions that are harmful to kids.

So, what can educators do to change the conversation? Education expert Douglas Reeves urges educators to quit the tit-for-tat public debate and set a new agenda that embraces accountability measures, focuses on 21st century skills assessments, and encourages leaders to admit their mistakes. Get more perspectives and practical solutions in this entire issue of ASCD Express on “Countering the Negative Spin on Education” (free).

Are we in the midst of crisis? How do you counter negative spin in your school community?

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