Sunday, January 10, 2010

Why is it always about the funding?

flickr Cc image via Images_of_Money

In the business of teaching and learning it seems to always be about the money. Whenever a desire to improve the practise or quality of the education system emerges, it isn't long before the calculators are fired up and we're attempting as quickly as we can to put a price on the reform. Not surprisingly, government funding sources propose the cheapest way to achieve the reform goal, and teacher unions demand maximum financial support. This continuum perpetuates every year at budget time and the battle of wits begins; the ministry wants the biggest bang for their buck, and the profession cries foul in its claim that the job can't be done without more cash.

Understanding that politics is politics, (party agendas, personal political aspirations, fiscal realities and the never-ending quest for power are obvious factors that affect not just the funding of education, but every publicly funded institution,) when it comes to education reform, I'm left pondering a different consciousness. What if those of us who are passionate about teaching and learning purposefully asked ourselves what could be done to improve education that wouldn't cost a dime?

Obviously funds are required to support many elements of the education system. Teachers need to get paid, resources need to be supplied and schools need to be built and maintained, however, when it comes to ideas supporting better practise, I would submit that perhaps the best education reforms require no financial support whatsoever.

As intelligent professionals who know tacitly what works and what doesn't in their classrooms and schools, teachers typically integrate and synthesize their philosophical thoughts in an effort to reform their personal practise and refine their craft. I've also had enough professional conversations with my teaching colleagues to know that collectively, we also have a lot to say about how these efforts can be extrapolated to a broader education reform context. I want to hear from any teacher who believes they have an idea that could improve the way teachers teach and students learn, and that doesn't require a penny of funding to do so.

Please share your ideas here, however simple or complex, or you can respond by following me on Twitter @graingered
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