When I hear the word "dream" my thoughts are immediately transported to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech. Dr. King is one of my heroes, not only because he championed and died for the civil rights of African-Americans, but because he peacefully fought against the evils of injustice and never gave up hope in the goodness of humanity. Dr. King's life may have been taken, but his dream never died.
When asked about my dream for the future of education, I can't help but go back and read over Dr. King's speech for inspiration. Taking my cue from Dr. King, here are my dreams for education:
I have a dream that one day teachers and school administrators will determine what goes on in our classrooms, not politicians.
I have a dream that one day standardized testing as we know it will cease to exist and be replaced with authentic assessments and standards-based learning and grading
I have a dream that one day teachers will be seen as the professionals they are rather than as blue collar workers
I have a dream that one day all stakeholders-parents, teachers, students, and administrators - will be able to sit together and collaborate on developing an education plan for every child, guided by a child's interests and strengths, not by a goal set by state leaders.
I have a dream that one day our class sizes will be more manageable so that teachers can spend their leisure time at their leisure instead of grading papers.
I have a dream that one day teachers will have more time to plan, prepare and collaborate.
I have a dream that one day every teacher in America will be provided with all necessary supplies for teaching and learning so there's no need to reach into personal budgets.
I have a dream that one day all schools in America regardless of geographical location be places of safety and security where all children can obtain a high-quality education.
I could go on and on. While there is absolutely no comparison between the struggles and sacrifices faced by Dr. King and the challenges faced by teachers in America, I would say to my fellow teachers as Dr. King stated in this speech. "Let us not wallow in the valley of despair" and let us never give up hope.