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City teacher argues for new focus of NBC’s education week

On Sunday, NBC will launch a week-long series of events it’s calling “Education Nation.” The series is being touted as a nationally-televised conversation about how to improve American public education. But the events have also prompted protests from teachers and parents who feel their voices are being lost or ignored in NBC’s high-profile line-up of officials, politicians and philanthropists.

One panel during the week is designed to showcase the voices of teachers: a “Teacher Town Hall” that NBC anchor Brian Williams is hosting on Sunday. Teacher and GothamSchools contributer Stephen Lazar was invited to participate in the event, and he gives a preview of what he wants to say in the Community section.

The national conversation around education needs to change, Lazar writes, and he has a list of where to start. Among his suggestions:

[W]e need…a shift from talking about testing and accountability towards talking about curriculum and learning. There’s a ridiculous notion that bad teachers are bad because they are lazy, and if we could just hold their feet to the fire, they would improve, or leave. That’s simply not reality. Most struggling teachers simply don’t know any better. We need to begin conversations about what they should be doing in their classrooms before their students are assessed, and then figure out how to support teachers in doing this.