Over my career, I have adopted the role of skeptic. Whenever anything new comes along, I look at it carefully and I must become convinced there is a compelling reason to adopt it. I also, however, turn the same critical eye to my own practices; I seek to convince myself that what I am doing or what I am thinking is really as I perceive it. I attribute this to my background in science.
Some have said that I am more than a skeptic. “Cynic” is one term that has been applied to me; some days the qualifier “ticked-off” was (probably accurately) applied to my response to educational reforms. I am cynical about much that is presented as education, especially by outsiders. I get ”ticked-off” when insiders, professionals who should know better, accept an outsider’s curriculum and instruction with the argument, “they are paying for it.”
If education was simply an engineering problem, it would have been solved decades ago, and there would be no on-going debate about student achievement and educators would not experience what a colleague has refereed to as the “fad-of-the-year approach to school reform.” He says, “recommendations from our curriculum coordinator are like New England weather… wait 10 minutes and it will change;” he is a more ticked-off cynic than I am.