Blogging gives us the feeling of motion but without much movement. The ‘echo chamber’ reprises the same themes endlessly. No matter how passionate the blogger or the blogoshere, the slow pace of systemic change in our schools moves forward at a snail’s pace. Would things move just as quickly if we weren’t blogging? Would natural societal forces be moving us along at the same speed?
Does blogging change things? Is it useful? Does it have a real impact?…
Is blogging merely the safest form of activisim? …done from the comfort of one’s living room.
I see that the recurring themes, the need for change and voicing of our frustration because it is so slow in coming, can be a positive thing. I see it as educator/bloggers ‘owning the conversation’. The more educators who pick up their electronic pens, create blogs, and post in protest; mean more folks are vested in the outcome. Greater numbers of educators writing for change may reach a ‘tipping point’ that begins to bring about the change.
On the other hand, perhaps blogging isn’t in the same category as true ‘activism’. If writing does not produce the desired outcomes, an ‘activist’ will abandon the strategy or add other actions to it. If writing about change doesn’t bring about change, and we do nothing but continue to complain about the lack of change; then are we really committed?
It’s certainly easy to sit back in the comfort of ones home and rail against the machine. I wonder what would happen if every reform minded blogger got up from the computer and ran for the school board in their home district? What kind of change might occur? If you aren’t the type to run for office, how about organizing a group to solicit, support, and elect a candidate that will work for the type of educational change we advocate? What would happen if every educational blogger in the U.S. committed to that one action?
What would happen if we put stepped from behind the safety of our computer screens and started organizing groups to attend our local Board meetings to speak about the changes we want to see? What if every educational blogger in America set out to run for or elect like-minded candidates to the highest offices of the local Teachers Association/Union? What if we began to use the power of our local professional organizations to advocate for transformational change?
What if we stopped professing the need for leadership and risk taking and did some leading and risk taking ourselves? What if every blogger in the country entered his or her classroom or office tomorrow and began doing what they say ought to be done? …Began making the changes that need to be made?
What if reform-minded edubloggers organized and delivered “teach-ins” that laid out the case for change to staff, students, and parents. What if we took even more radical steps like organizing “walk outs” or “sick outs” on NCLB testing days?
What if we put less energy into our blogs and more into sparking our students to understand how under-served they are in the present system? What if we could get our students to ‘own’ the transformation of their schools, so that they felt the compelled to do something on their own behalf? How powerful would it be to have students joining us in our “campaign for change”.
I don’t know. Like I said, it’s easier for me to write this than to actually get out of this comfortable chair and do it. No illusions. Activism has its costs. Maybe we care…but not enough to risk our jobs, and our livelihoods.Maybe behind all these words is the hope that somebody else will get things started. It always seems to fall to somebody else to ‘light the fire’.
I think about those that have gone before us, those who stood for the great causes of our times, women’s rights, civil rights, the union movement….some lost more than their jobs…