My dad, who is a school bus driver now that he retired from his other job, confirmed something that I have been saying for a while now. People in this area don't want schools to change because kids will never be able to survive if they don't know how to do the things that we know how to do. My dad wants me to teach the basics first, and then once the kids get the basics I should move on to the harder stuff. He said something along the lines of, "Make them understand what they are doing, and then you can use all the technology you want. I don't want a bunch of stupid kids running around who can't do their jobs because their calculators and computers don't work!" News flash, Dad. They probably won't be able to do their jobs no matter how much they know because all of their jobs will be technology based.
We talked about many different aspects of education. My dad often focuses on kids being "bad" or acting like "jerks" so I think it was different for him to hear that there are reasons why these kids do bad or jerky things. I also tried to help him understand that the positives he is providing will not instantly undo the mess parents have created the last 10 years, but he's doing something. I could tell that there were several points with which we did not find common ground, but he and my mom were listening. That is what's important - somebody not in education was listening to me, seeing things from my point of view, and starting to consider education differently than they had before we talked.
This is what "the choir" needs to do. Whether we are teachers, administrators or parents, those of us in education who believe in change need to start talking. We need to find audiences, sit down and talk about what our kids need to succeed. This is the only way we are going to combat those who are "Waiting for Superman" and those who have nothing nice to say about teachers and public education.