I Used to Think… and Now I Think…: Twenty Leading Educators Reflect on the Work of School Reform by Richard Elmore

October 2011

 

    At one time, I had grand notions about the state of education and that if you simply love children enough, they would learn through mere affection.  After 30 years of education, I do not want to completely abandon this notion, but I do know that it takes more than mere love to teach children.  Now I think that it takes deliberate planning, teaching, and monitoring of progress for children to learn.

    I realized that I was not alone in my meanderings and that others in education who once had valued beliefs also had a change of heart and rhetoric.  Most noted of the authors was Sonia Nieto who once believed that second language learners of Latino heritage like her needed normative, directive guidance that would allow second language learners access to power and opportunity.  Now she realized that if you teach children devoid of their cultural heritage, then they will attach themselves to the dominant cultural traits, but flounder with their own culture, ethnicity, or nationality.  Now she knows it is best to teach children in the language of both cultures.

    This book fascinated me because it gave me opportunity to reflect on my own learning and notions of being.  I always prided myself on not foreclosing on my thinking and this book embraced my need to review, rethink, and reinvent.  Other noted authors included Larry Cuban and Howard Gardner.  This book is ideal for those who periodically pause, reflect, and redefine as their knowledge evolves and contexts shift.