You may be just like me. You may be the biggest fan of quality education, public school, innovation and ICT, cohoperative learning and European actions (read: LLP).
And you may think you're doing your best and you're a brave, curious and engaged teacher. Maybe not the best ever, we're not so self-confident, yet working hard. You see lots of fellow teachers in different countries striving through tons of red tape, stressing day-to-day routine, economical crisis, dysfunctional schools, lack of ICT equipment: yet we set our projects, we run them, we motivate our pupils and we try to promote culture and a sense of belonging to something bigger than just "my" country.
Then you happen to read the 2010 Joint Report of the European Commission about the 5 benchmarks we were supposed to reach for 2010.
"There has been a general improvement in education and training performance in the EU. However, the majority of the benchmarks set for 2010 will not be reached in time, while in the case of the vital benchmark on literacy performance is in fact deteriorating. Attaining these benchmarks will require more effective national initiatives."
So, the situation is actually getting worse. You can find the complete document here and in the TNG twinspace as well. Rest assured, not a funny reading.
Just look at the picture, it says more than tons of words.
Now, where is the mistake?
Obviously we (them?) did something wrong. It's interesting that the document goes on explaining how we need more effective national measures. Is the EU giving up?
What do you think?
Were the European measures not good enough?
How much - in terms of energy, money, people - did the EU spend on education? Was it too little an effort? Was it in a wrong direction?
Were the benchmarks simply too difficult to reach?
In a time of crisis, is Europe - just as all of the individual countries - trying to save on education? (not a smart move, as we all can guess).
I've no answers for all of these questions. Yet I can't help wondering WHY those goals were not met. And HOW we are supposed to meet the new ones, if we don't know the reason why we failed. I would have loved to stop all of the very important people, all of the researchers and all of the policy makers I met in Genova and ask them these questions. So, if any of them is reading me, please give me your point of view.
Otherwise, I think we can go on exchanging ideas among us "normal" teachers. I know this is not an amusing post. But as my favourite blogger says "Don't get me wrong, I love my job, but sometimes a girl has gotta vent"!