In Brad Gustafson’s book, “Reclaiming Our Calling” he introduces four passions of the education profession: 1) The Moral Foundation of Education, 2) The Heart of Education, 3) The Mind of Education, and 4) The Hope of Education. In the opening of the book he reminds us that there are many people who think they are well-positioned to evaluate and critique the work of education based on a single credential: they have been through the education system. However, Gustafson notes that it doesn’t matter who those people are, “the way they are trying to define our work doesn’t always position us to do immense good for the students we serve,” and as such he challenges us to think about how we can take back our profession.
As we worked our way through the ethics standard for class, one piece of advice seemed to be the golden rule: do what you need to do with the best interest of kids as your guide post. We all know the struggle that afflicts modern schools; the struggle between academia and student well-being. Gustafson’s prologue serves as a reminder that we cannot ignore accountability, but “what we need to confront are the destructive testing influences that aren’t serving students.” The opening words of his work serve as a challenge to the status quo of high stakes testing, and as a reminder to put the child before the test. He identifies “Passion I” in his book as the moral foundation because, “We already know doing what’s best for kids is an ethical obligation that extends far beyond preparing students to do well on testing day.” While I think most (or all) of us would hold this to be true, it sometimes comes at odds against district policy, community/parent focus, and state and federal regulations. It is our job as educators to remind ourselves and our stakeholders that the whole child is first and foremost in every step of the way.