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Why is there so much disconnect between public educators and education administrators?

teaching seems like such a great career, and so does being an ed administrator, but with the modern-day "common core", "no child left behind" mentality, it ends up putting so much stress and pressure on teachers that does not translate into better student performance. What's worse is that teachers and administrators rarely find common ground on how to move forward, thus teachers voices are the ones least heard (even though administrators are the ones with power to make necessary changes.) I have always wanted to be involved in education-administration and try to address the disconnect between the front-end educators and the back-end ed admins, but surely there are many who have gone into ed-admin wanting to bridge this gap as well.

Is a career as an education administrator really where I could make the impact that I want to make? Are there legitimate reasons that ed admin fails to advocate for teachers, for students, for reasonable standards & improvements in education that align with reality? I realize these issues are systematic and complex, but will I be caught up in too many politics & power-struggles to make any real difference for *students*? teacher aministration politics standardized-testing policy leadership

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Dupre’s Answer

Alexandra, that is a complicated, and very insightful question. Both of my parents were teachers; my mother taught teacher education at a university, dad was a physics and computer science teacher.
Over the last 20 years or so, I saw the roles of teachers and administrators evolve in many ways. Each group had their own challenges.

Teachers are now required to ensure that all students get the same quality of education and "inclusion" as it's called in some states, brings together students from learning and developmental challenges alongside students in academically gifted groups. Also with COVID, many teachers had to change the ways they interact with students - online vs in classroom. Additionally, teachers ask for funds for tools and supplies but end up often with larger classes with fewer tools and other resources.

Administrators, on the other hand, do not all come from actual classroom teaching. Some seem to come from directly from Ed Leadership degree programs without being in the classroom beforehand. Administrators also have challenges getting budgets from school districts and grant programs to offer teachers and students resources to keep the school appealing to parents of prospective students - now with the rise of home schooling and charter schools.

Each are required to view their jobs and they're not always measured on their performance by the same standards. That makes it difficult, at times, for each group to work together toward common goals. Hope this helps. commoncore nochildleftbehind #
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Eric’s Answer

Alexandra, you pose some poignant questions that I have considered as well in our school district where I try and be actively involved in shaping the education of our four school-age children. It has been my observation that where there is a strong parent involvement at both the classroom, school and district levels the teachers gain more license to teach according to their own unique styles, gifts and training. Conversely, where parents are not heavily involved - whether due to their own inaction or because administrative powers put in place too many barriers to foment such collaboration - the teachers are usually restricted by the many federal standards that you mentioned. The answers to your questions are difficult one, for sure. My own personal opinion is that we need the best educators on the front lines, even if there are administrative hurdles that limit effective teaching - hopefully, only temporarily until a coordinated effort of citizens, teachers and parents demand any necessary changes to the administrators and their policies.
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Mark’s Answer

Alexandra, it is wonderful that you want to have a positive impact on educating our children. I am not in education, but am a parent with kids, so my advice comes from that perspective. I have kids that range from dyslexia to academically gifted. I have seen teachers and admins that are inspiring; and teachers and admins that inhibit a learning atmosphere.

Either path you choose, you can choose to make a difference. It seems you are leaning more towards an admin role. If you pursue that path, my suggestion is to incorporate a concept referred to as ‘a day in the life’. Periodically, spend a day observing a classroom. Find a way to be a fly on the wall, so that as much as possible you can observe true essence of the interaction between the students and the teachers. The goal is not to judge teachers or students, but to learn what works and what opportunities there are for improvements. It will also let you sympathize with the challenges students and teachers must deal with, and ideally let you as an admin develop strategies and solutions to address those challenges.

I also agree with other posters that community involvement can be a key asset. Not just parents, but the community. Seek ways to engage the community for support, such as mentors and fund raisers.

I wish you the best of luck!
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T.’s Answer

Consider this rundown of 10 significant difficulties right now confronting government funded schools, in light of the viewpoint of many engaged with the universe of instruction today.

Classroom Size.
Family Factors.
Students Attitudes and Behaviors.
No Child Left Behind.
Parent Involvement