A little over two years ago, I quit my job and embarked upon an adventure to get a Master’s in Business Administration and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership. I had no prior work experience in education. I was educated in the public school system of this country, which I suppose could be considered my only experience with the elementary and secondary educational system in this country.
I went into graduate school with some pretty lofty ideals. I wanted to put my business experience to work in the public schools; to help them achieve their goals faster, cheaper, or better. I quickly learned that they weren’t interested in the likes of me or my ideas. I am an outsider to them, and the education establishment doesn’t like outsiders. Sure, I managed to spent a summer interning with a state education agency, but thus far the public school districts themselves have shown no interest in me.
Here is what I have come to believe: the education establishment has become insular, and is unwilling to accept notions that may rock the boat, even if such changes prove to be beneficial to the ultimate goal of the education system: the production of well-educated and knowledgeable children. All levels of the education establishment: the teacher associations, the teachers, the administrators, and the local, state, and federal bureaucrats, are dedicated to keeping the status quo of “work in education is only for those trained in education.” This results in a lack of new ideas or “outside-the-box” thinking, and thus our education system is failing its constituency: the children, who consistently test poorly compared to their international counterparts.
I am in the dissertation phase of my graduate study, and hopefully in a year or so I will be done. And then the educational establishment will have to deal with me and my slowly growing legion of outsider peers who are interested in the welfare of this country’s children. They don’t want us, but we will be there proving ourselves useful even though we were not originally indoctrinated into the educational establishment.
And then perhaps I can change my belief.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.