Friday, January 25, 2008

a statement about mission statements

Constructing statements about the aims of education during the last class was incredibly beneficial. I now have a much clearer idea of what the process looks like and how it can be undertaken in a school system. However, as was noted in the textbook, mission statements seem to be sadly underused by school systems. They do not exist, are not readily available, or when available are not translated into action within the school. I feel that the mission statement or aims of education should be used by the school as the vision of the school community. Along with administrators, teachers, students, parents, and other staff or community members should be invited to participate in constructing the mission statement and revisiting it over the years. Teachers and administrators should not be afraid to openly state their beliefs about education and act on those beliefs.

But then I also have this little voice that says, what good are mission statements if you can't get everyone on board? What good are mission statements if parents can't choose what school their children attend? I am so torn when it comes to school choice. When I look at the big picture, I think that school choice should not be allowed, because that would lead to segregated schools (racial, income, and ability segregation). Separate is inherently unequal. But then when I think about MY (theoretical) children and all the elementary schools that I have been working in for my research assistantship, I would DEFINITELY want to choose what school I sent my child to. And there are some schools that I would rather move than have my child attend. So as a (potential) parent, I feel one way about it, but as an educator, wanting all schools to be good schools and all students to receive equal education, I feel completely different about school choice.

Switching gears a little bit to my philosophy of education, I'm definitely on the progressivism/reconstructionism side of the diagram, and I don't feel that these pieces conflict with one another. I would also add critical theory into the mix, because it really supports both progressivism and reconstructionism. To impact and improve society, we must intensely address the inequalities in society and remedy them. The school system is one avenue through which we can eradicate inequalities.

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