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13 July 2015 @ 07:50 pm
Expert Advice  
This article on the death of expertise struck a deep chord within me: http://thefederalist.com/2014/01/17/the-death-of-expertise/#.VZ5300Z07gI.facebook. This paragraph in particular resonated:

"I fear we are witnessing the “death of expertise”: a Google-fueled, Wikipedia-based, blog-sodden collapse of any division between professionals and laymen, students and teachers, knowers and wonderers – in other words, between those of any achievement in an area and those with none at all. "

There has been quite a bit of evidence within education. Arne Duncan ash Secretary of Education, David Coleman has the architect of CCSS, and most recently, the appointment of a home schooler to head the State Board of Education in Texas. Add in Campbell Brown and others leading a charge for more charters despite the evidence and the experts. Mix in Michelle Rhee, Teach for America, NBTQ reports, ads for test scorers from Craigslist.

"The death of expertise is a rejection not only of knowledge, but of the ways in which we gain knowledge and learn about things. "

It has become a situation where some experts are simply labeled as elitist, those who do not know how to fix something because they live in ivory towers. Not new, folks, since I can recall Spiro Agnew's label "effete snobs" to anyone who disagreed with his opinions and politics.

It has become a time in which folks feel free to say hateful things in comments sections, where attacks against an individual become personal instead of remaining professional. It is troublesome. While I would never claim to be THE expert, I do have some expertise when it comes to literacy. In part, it is because I have been in this field for so long and read so much research. I can go back a century and cite studies from each decade that underpin the classroom practices that experts use: reading aloud, choice, access, response, community.

I value expertise and experience. I wish those directing education did the same. As Nichols concludes:

"Experts come in many flavors. Education enables it, but practitioners in a field acquire expertise through experience; usually the combination of the two is the mark of a true expert in a field. But if you have neither education nor experience, you might want to consider exactly what it is you’re bringing to the argument."
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