K-12 Bureaucratic Barriers a Problem? Who Ya' Gonna Call? Cage-Busters!
It’s not a completely unfair characterization to suggest that a specialty for 5-year-old boys is busting things. Or at least enjoying watching others bust things. This post won’t help disabuse anyone of that impression.
Last week I cheered to see Marcus Winters flex his charter school myth-busting muscles. Today I bring your attention to a different kind of bustin’ going on.
Two years ago American Enterprise Institute (AEI) education scholar Rick Hess made waves calling for a greater can-do attitude among school and district administrators with his book Cage-Busting Leadership. Now he highlights the same sort of opportunities for teachers.
To whet your appetite for next month’s release of The Cage-Busting Teacher, last week AEI published an excerpt from Hess’s forthcoming book. The excerpt highlights a series of examples of classroom educators with the creativity and gumption to fight through irrational layers of bureaucracy.
Seeing that, it’s hard to disagree with Hess’s assessment of an all-too-common state of affairs in K-12 education:
Teachers described feeling caught up by a combination of structure and culture: by school designs that give teachers little room to grow and cultures that lodge authority elsewhere. It’s both goofy and unfortunate that things have evolved this way—that we think of professional growth as teachers going into administration.
About as goofy as the Colorado Education Association president publicly insisting that the only way teachers should be worth of getting more money (not for being a hard-working, top-flight performer) is to take on responsibilities and duties outside of the classroom. Then again, when you believe that “all teachers do the same job,” it is kind of hard to imagine much incentive to be a genuine cage-buster. But what do I know?
Speaking of cage-busting, a recent posting by the Clayton Christensen Institute’s Thomas Arnett (highlighting an observation made by the Evergreen Education Group) pointed out a barrier for teachers that would require a stronger, more concerted force to address:
Most states have some form of licensure reciprocity policies in place that allow teachers who are licensed in one state to gain an additional licensure in a new state where they would like to teach. The problem is that gaining licensure in a new state can be a lengthy and difficult process. States created these policies mainly for traditional teachers who physically relocate to a new state and plan to teach at a brick-and-mortar school within that state for the indefinite future. Thus, although the process of gaining an additional license is difficult, it is bearable if you are only making a one-time transfer to a new state.
Not surprisingly, Arnett notes that problems remain for the excellent online educator to offer his or her services to students across the country. Think about that possibility and the stifling bureaucracy that stands in the way.
Maybe you’ve been inclined to look down on us little tykes who enjoy busting things. I hope you can see at least that there is definitely a time and a place for some busting within the world of K-12 education, all in the name of giving students in need more access to great teachers.
Last week we talked about myth-busters. Today it’s cage-busters. What should be next? According to my dad, Ghostbusters: Who ya’ gonna’ call??