The state of Illinois is actively considering hiring what it calls storytellers for its public education department. According to the job posting, the storytellers will have to combine educational policy with communication in their job. Despite the surface appearance, these storytellers will not just travel around to schools and read kids stories. They are meant to be a different kind of storyteller.
The storytellers proposed by the Illinois State Board of Education are set to be traveling public policy educators, advocates and communicators. They will be going across the state and sharing stories of what works and what does not work in the classroom, the administration and the community as a whole when it comes to education in the state of Illinois.
Ultimately, these storytellers can be said to be people who are traveling to talk about best practices in the educational environment. Another one of their roles is also to gather information from one school and share it with other schools. The goal or point of hiring these storytellers is to improve performance not only in the classroom but of the administration, the teachers, the school boards and every other part of the educational system.
The idea is indeed a novel one, and it is unclear just how effective it will be. I think the idea is a great one. Taking what works in one school and sharing it with another school or district can be a great way to spread effective policies or techniques from one area to the next. Just like a company wants to share best practices among its departments, the educational agency should do the same thing.
One hurdle to the storytellers beginning work is the educational budget. They can only be hired if the budget the department of education in Illinois was promised is actually given to them. The new promised budget was substantially higher than the previous one and would allow the hiring of additional staff such as storytellers.