Well, reading over the last few days about Betsy DeVos and her suitability for Education Secretary in the USA, had me thinking about politicians in general and their suitability to be in control of sections of government. Now I am not going to say whether Ms DeVos is well qualified or not as an Education Secretary as I do not know her educational background. What I will see though if she is a businesswoman and administrator I would be extremely unimpressed with the appointment.
I have long held the opinion that someone running whatever department should have a background in the profession, whether it is medicine, teaching or law. If you do not have a law background, how the hell can you tell a lawyer how to do their job. The same goes for education unless you have been in that classroom teaching the kids, dealing with the problems and breaking the fights up, you have no idea what good teaching is about.
So, take my own country we have Justine Greening currently running education, now I have nothing against Ms Greening, and I am sure she is an outstanding politician. My issue is though that Ms Greening’s background is in accountancy, which would be excellent if she was working in the Treasury and not. The education department. Surely there must be a Conservative member of parliament that has a teaching background.
I have run into this myself working in further education. I have had teaching observations done by senior managers who have never taught a class in their life. Yes, they know what is required, they have read the standards and what to look for, but if you have not been on the shop floor, you are unable to identify the nuances of teaching a class.
I think senior practitioners should undertake teaching observations; they need to have recent teaching experience and not read from the OFSTED handbook. Until we get the correct people at all levels of the organisation, you will always have disquiet as to whether those individuals are suitably qualified for the post they are in.
So, I say again to Betsy DeVos and Justine Greening, how well does your teaching Resume/CV stack up? If the answer is not very well, then you have no right to lecture experienced teaching practitioners about the rights and wrongs. Come back when you are a qualified practitioner with 3000+ hours of classroom experience at all levels.