In the 1950's Toyota implemented the Andon Cord. It was a physical rope that followed the assembly line and could be pulled to stop the manufacturing line at any time. Just think, any worker had the autonomy to stop production at any time in order to fix a problem. Management understood that the workers who were on the line understood the products the best and gave them the ability to suggest changes.
Do educators have an Andon Cord? My concern in education is that the adults who are closest to the students often do not have their voices heard. I believe that successful schools not only listen to its teachers, but embrace teacher leadership in real ways. In fact, a recent study found that "students who go to schools where their teachers have a leadership role in decision making perform significantly better on state tests." (Will, Madeline. “Students Fare Better When Teachers Have a Say, Study Finds.” Education Week, 1 Nov. 2017)
I believe that Teacher Leaders are poised in the perfect position to do this work and here's how:
My plea for administrators, policy makers, and community members-- listen to your teachers! As Sir Ken Robinson stated, "There is no system in the world or any school in the country that is better than its teachers. Teachers are the lifeblood of the success of schools." Teacher voice is necessary. Teacher leadership is powerful. It is time to use this wisdom to combat the challenges that face our schools.