Read more about Open Source Initiative on Wikipedia. This image was copied from OSI article.
If we chose to crowd source our textbooks and yearly tests, the last article demonstrated ways these products would be drastically improved. If you have not gotten to read the article from last week yet this link will take you back to it. If you right click you can open it in a new tab and get back here easily. Here is the link for last weeks article on Open Source Education. http://teachersandcompany.blogspot.com/2015/03/open-source-education-better-products.html
Open Source in Tennessee, here after called Crowd Sourcing, could improve teacher retention. Teacher retention will be a huge problem in just a little while. Our state is currently 1000 teachers short. We have a shortage of young people choosing a major in Education in college as well. Add to these numbers, the dozen or so teachers in my circle I know of who are ready to quit and you have the perfect storm. We can still abate the damage.
We need to rebuild teacher status in Tennessee to help people understand that teachers serve the community in a significant way. One of the ways we can elevate the status of teachers in our state is by creating a crowd sourcing core of teachers. Top teachers from around the state would leave the classroom for a year. This core group will work together to write our textbooks, update curriculum, and the annual tests. It would be ideal for this group of teacher to interact with the legislators at least bi-monthly. Teachers rarely get to interact with legislators. This would open some needed lines of communication. Teaching and learning conditions have changed rapidly in the last five years. Teachers have insider information about changes in school and classroom culture. These professional may have solutions others might not think of because of this insider information. There would probably need to be protections so teachers could share knowledge without fear of reprisal.
People who have invested their time and money into building their pedagogical skills should be selected for the crowd source core. They need to have a minimum of 10 years in the public school classroom with some classroom time occurring in the last two years. This postion should require teachers with advanced degrees, publications, published studies, significant awards and or grants. Other evidences demonstrating creativity and drive should also be given weight in the selection process. At the end of the year their tenure in this program ends and they rotate back to the classroom and a new core group of teachers is selected. Instituting this plan can help Tennessee develop a repository of some of the best educational lessons and knowledge. Currently this knowledge leaves when the teachers leave but it does not have to be this way.
Make this into a well known program which teachers aspire and desire to be a part of. Pay full salary plus a handsome bonus. Plan carefully methods for quality control so only the best of the best are selected and diversity matches the teaching force from which the core is drawn.
This planning/crowdsource core should only be composed of teachers. Text book companies representatives, chamber of commerce reps, charter school representatives, Pierson or other test making company reps are not teachers. Make this core elite and exclusive with no exception to the only teachers as member rule. Elevate the status of teachers to retain them and maintain our amazing public schools.