What's next: Common rules and standardization for traditional public schools, choice and opportunity for educational entrepreneurs.
My fear is that Michigan schools will jump too quickly into yet another seductive scheme to "disrupt"--and lose decades of work and good will.
Why aren't all students reading for pleasure, every day?
Should Grit 101 be a required subject--or is it something you learn by example and experience, over time? Should we really be grading kids on their character?
Can teachers say: Therefore, while my commitment to the children of Detroit remains as strong as it was when I began this journey 15 years ago, without the tools provided by any other typical school district in this state, I do not believe that my presence here can have any further impact?
Is entrepreneurship what Franklin D. Roosevelt was aiming for when he said: The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little?
Some things take time. The second go-round is harder than the first. Persist. Pay attention. It gets worse before it gets better. Demonstrate patience. This is how human beings learn.
Let me describe the worst parent-teacher conferences I ever attended. Picture a large, echoing gymnasium, with teachers seated behind tables set nearly edge-to-edge around the perimeter; two molded-plastic chairs face each table. In the center of the gym, a roiling mass of hundreds of parents, trying to locate their daughter's teachers, assessing the length of lines. Facing each table, a line of parents, standing, waiting for their three-minute "conference" with the teacher, also their only opportunity to sit down during the evening. How did parents know that a conference should take three minutes? Because it said so in the information ...
Antipathy to the five-paragraph essay ultimately comes down to our encounters with students who have become imprisoned by the method and have lost the ability to write and think creatively (or maybe never developed it).
I'm not particularly bothered by that murky road ahead. An excellent education really is built through lively relationships.