Have the right people in the room where it happens....
Those of you who have seen the musical Hamilton will be amused by the title of my blog this week. Inspired a bit by a concert I was lucky enough to attend on MLK day where Leslie Odom Jr. (the original Aaron Burr) was the featured singer. One of Aaron Burr's big songs in Hamilton occurs when he decides he's had enough of sitting on the sidelines and he wants "to be in the room where it happens".
This week for our Einstein Fellow professional development we got to hear from leaders at the National Governor's Association (NGA) and the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) on how they connect the states with the federal government. One of the most important things I heard was that when these groups identified education issues to tackle, they always invited teachers, parents and students in the room to get their perspective. They understand the importance of those voices. The major purpose of the Albert Einstein Fellowship program is to bring teacher voices into federal spaces and for 33 years, Congress and the Department of Energy have understood how important it is to have the right people in the room when decisions are made about what's best for students. I feel valued because I am finally in the room.
Too often in the past few years of my teaching career, I have felt left out of the "the room where it happens". This is the major reason teachers no longer feel valued as professional educators. District administrators seem to think they have all the answers, but the problems start when they don't invite the right people into the room. I saw a meme this week that sadly resonated with me.
Until District administrators make the decision to invite parents, students and teachers into the room where decisions are made, the big problems facing education will not get better. Like Aaron Burr in Hamilton, those of us outside the room need to start loudly proclaiming to be let in. To fix the issues in education, we have to do whatever it takes to get right people in the room where it happens.