I finally put an inscription in my copy of my own book. It’s a reminder to do my best to advance change. Its advice I have tried to follow ever since observing the state of my own community’s schools and coming to the realization that we have a systemic problem. So, since 1999, I’ve been scraping my way up the education food chain trying to improve the public education system. Progress? Not yet.
As happenstance would have it, in reference to the second Obama term, Secretary of Education Duncan has recently stated that “Our basic theory of action is not going to change.” Personally, I feel like I’ve been knocked down again! I believe the American people deserve at least a chance at changing the direction of “reform.” Where’s that conversation? Anyone listening? And what the hell did Secretary Duncan mean by “theory of action”?
I explained one theory of action in chapter 3 (page 24) of The Crucial Voice of the People. I used the National Science Resource Center Theory of Action model. It is based on knowledge of research-based practices. The action part is a theory but its basis is proven best practices. It is not action based on theory. It is action based on science – using knowledge to guide change.
“The truth is that promoting science isn’t just about providing resources—it’s about protecting free and open inquiry,” President-elect Obama said. “It’s about ensuring that facts and evidence are never twisted or obscured by politics or ideology. It’s about listening to what our scientists have to say, even when it’s inconvenient—especially when it’s inconvenient. Because the highest purpose of science is the search for knowledge, truth and a greater understanding of the world around us. That will be my goal as President of the United States—and I could not have a better team to guide me in this work.” December, 2008.
You got a couple of things right back then, Mr. President; it’s about listening. And, we need to search for a greater understanding.
Changing the theory of action upon which we base education reform would be inconvenient; but it’s the right thing to do if we wish to reach our goal.