Are "Teacherpreneurs" the Future of Education?

Posted by Liz Dwyer

One of the frustrating things about being a teacher is that the people who make the big policy decisions about education often don't have much, if any, classroom experience. Even our Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, was never a classroom teacher. But 12 of the 13 authors of a new education reform book, Teaching 2030, are current classroom teachers, and the smart thinking they share is a reflection of the knowledge they've gained while working in public schools. The animated video above is a summary of their big ideas about what needs to happen to put our education system on the right track by 2030.

Many educators will appreciate that while the authors believe that better teaching is a key to improving schools, they don't believe in ignoring the impact of poverty on the classroom, or discounting how challenging being a modern teacher actually is. They also advocate a teaching force of well-prepared educators who are interested in teaching as a career.

Their umbrella education reform solution, which I've written about before, is for teachers to become entrepreneurially-minded leaders. They call them "teacherpreneurs" and they envision this new breed of educators as "classroom experts who teach while also serving as teacher educators, policy researchers, community organizers and trustees of their profession." Essentially, the people who teach in the classroom are also the ones generating education policy and reform, which is a 180 from what happens now.

But are these the ideas that teachers as a whole want to embrace, and, if so, how do we shift the reform discussion to reflect them­ After all, there are only 19 years till 2030, so if we really want to ensure we aren't having the same education debates then that we're having now, the conversation has to start.