How Can We Cultivate Diversity and Dialogue in Public Education?

I wrote a guest post for The Board’s Eye View on the Education Gadfly site yesterday on the need for meaningful dialogue, grounded in the professional experience of the classroom, to occur within all levels of the educational system.

So my advice to those who wish to make our public education systems better: start by implementing ways of gathering knowledge from the field; systematically foster professional dialogue between classrooms, schools, districts, and states; and triangulate test score data with the information gleaned from direct engagement and dialogue with battle-hardened veterans from the field. Otherwise, teachers, school leaders, and policymakers will continue driving blind, isolated in the confines of their own echo chambers.

This focus on collaboration ties into our schools as ecosystems model in a couple of ways. First, the recognition of the importance of deliberately cultivating relationships is an ecological perspective we’ve discussed as a component of fostering diversity. Furthermore, we have continually highlighted the importance of the consideration of contexts as a critical component of balanced ecosystem maintenance. I believe qualifying data with context is also important, and unfortunately all too often the need for dialogue between diverse perspectives at all levels of the public education enterprise is silenced in favor of easy, shallow shortcuts like test scores.

What would your suggestions be to cultivate professional collaboration, meaningful dialogue, and stronger relationships based on empathy and understanding across all levels of our public education system?

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