Once a harsh critic, Vollmer has become an articulate friend of America’s public schools. His presentations combine statistics, logic, and humor to energize and encourage educators, business leaders, and community groups to work together to build successful schools.
Vollmer also listed the great changes that have happened in education since 1900. He underlines the increasing number of additions to education such as bullying prevention, NCLB, Race to the Top and many more. However, the most vital element he pinpoints is the fact that we haven't added a single minute to the school calendar but still expect teachers to teach the plethora of additions to "education." See the PDF for a full list.
Vollmer concluded with what we can do right now. He had 5 S's.
We need to stop griping about those around us. He pointed out that it used to be when a child had a problem at school, he/she had a problem with mom/dad when he/she got home that day. However, now when a student has a problem, the parent has a problem with the teacher. We need to build the trust with parents as well as community members. Complaining about other teachers, principals, administration while in the check out line or what have you does not send a message to build trust for teachers.
Regardless of how bad we may think we have it there is always far worse. Rather than focusing on all the negatives we need to focus on the positive. This not only continues to build trust but research has shown how it help you live a healthier life.
While we need to focus on positive, we also need to share the positive. This helps build up community, trust and much more. School is never going to get away from the "negative" persona until we not only shift our attitudes to positive, but make it contagious by sharing all the positives.
It is not a sprint...it is a marathon. The additions to what is expected when receiving an "education" did not happen over night. This has been over many decades. We need to sustain our efforts in reforming education.
To finish, Vollmer said the most important piece to the puzzle is to get started right now.
This is a summary from what I took away from his speech. I think there are a lot of positive elements that can be focused on and implemented into our daily efforts as teachers. The biggest change will come from teachers collectively working together using their "power" to promote what it will take to reform education without the business model.
Find our more by visiting Vollmer's site or checking out his book Schools Cannot Do it Alone!