Platform Paper
In education, I believe I have
seen it all. I have seen teachers who love what they do and would probably do it
for free. I have seen teachers who, it seems, are punching a time clock and
would not dream of working over forty hours a week. And lastly, I have seen
teachers who undoubtedly must live at the school in which they work because they
never leave the building before dark, no matter what the season. I have made
friends, enemies, partners, and developed friendships with just about every
person I have come into contact with in the field of education. I create
friendships with all teachers because I believe it is in the best interest of
children, and, because I want to make the difference in the life of a child. No
matter what the intent of being in a school setting may be, there should be only
one goal: making the difference in the life of a child. How often is this simple
thought forgotten when it comes to the studentsí learning? As part of the
educational system, my first concern is that of the children. For the first
three years of my career, I have been fortunate enough to work for
administrators who, I feel, had the same beliefs I do, a child-centered
attitude. As they worked, I watched and I learned. I wanted to some day have the
type of climate in my building as they had in their own. And, as I start to
pursue my dream of being a building administrator, I often think I have the same
desires as the wonderful building principals I have worked for. I want to create
an atmosphere that matches theirs Ė a positive place for students to learn,
created by all the stakeholders of the district. PUTTING THE CHILD IN THE CENTER

"One test of the correctness of educational procedure is the happiness of the
child." The first and primary goal I would have as an administrator would be
all to hold the belief that there are no disposable students. Some students may
not learn how or exactly what we want them to, but at the same time, that does
not make them disposable. "A large part of our population believes that many
children are not fully educable. Trainable for a job, but not educable for the
duties of citizenship and the things that are essential to a hood human life"
(Adler, 1982). Having disposable children is a belief of some teachers because
of how schooling has traditionally been delivered. A change in this thought
process must be met by each and every adult the student comes in contact with
during his or her schooling to ensure both his or her academic and personal
development of every child. There should be one adult advocate for every child
in the school, giving the student the feeling there is someone in his or her
corner. In order for this to occur, students need to be actively involved in the
learning process. "The (student-centered learning) environment provides
interactive, complimentary activities that enable students to address their
unique learning interests and needs" (Land, 1996). A major part of
student-centered learning is the empowerment of the student to make choices
concerning their individual learning. This style, in turn, would help students
to feel valued and respected, which would also help with a studentís
self-esteem. Because of the environment created, students in the building, I
hope, would feel more motivated to be actively involved in their own learning,
and therefore, would be responsible stakeholders in their own education. In this
educational environment, students would build stronger relationships with
students and adults, and hopefully would help provide a sense of community in
the school. WHAT KIND OF PROGRESS IS BEING MADE? "Schooling has traditionally
been about people memorizing a lot of stuff that they donít really care too
much about, and the whole approach is quite fragmented" (OíNeill, 1995).

This is why I believe we "lose" some students in the educational process. If
students were actively involved, were interested in what was being taught, and
worked cooperatively with other students in a hands-on learning environment,
more students would feel empowered by the opportunities they were given, and,
they would respond in a more positive manner toward the educational process.

"Learning by doing rather than by drill would lead the students to
development, formation, integration, unification, continuity, progression, and
especially growth" (Diggins, 1989). Progressivism, which was introduced in the

United States and Europe in the late 19th century, is a collection of beliefs
that opposed traditional schooling, a movement originally led by John