Sometimes what is reasonable and what is practical collide at the intersection of reality and perception. The results can often be ugly.
So it is when one ponders the current state of public education, replete with depleting resources and complete with competing interests. School budgets have been slashed with programs and personnel dwindling to the point where some schools barely hover above minimum state required curricula and courses. Charter schools, operating unencumbered from many confining state mandates while benefiting from public funding, continue to expand.
The pace and scope of imposed change has left many occupied with survival tactics rather than sustaining visions of the schools of tomorrow. The present threatens to obscure the future. There is an old saying that goes something like this, "When you're up to your rear end in alligators, it's hard to remember that your job is to drain the pool."
Now let's turn to a vision of the future of education that was recently developed and shared at the national level. It's very impressive, if not realistic. Here's the link to the full story. A summary appears below the link (along with my personal thoughts are parenthetical and in boldface).
The shared vision focuses on three main goals, which include ensuring all students are challenged to meet a high bar that prepares them for college, career, and citizenship; narrowing the opportunity and access gap between more and less privileged populations of students; and, preparing all students to be globally competitive. Seven core principles make up the elements of achieving these goals. They include-
- A culture of shared responsibility and leadership; (see imposed laws/statues such as NCLB, or, in NY, the APPR)
- Recruiting top talent into schools prepared for success; (with all of the budget cuts many schools cannot hire new staff, some haven't hired for a couple of years)
- Continuous growth and professional development; (much of professional development is designed purely to conform to state/federally imposed requirements)
- Effective teachers and principals; (as measured by complicated, burdensome systems of accountability that are more mechanical than inspirational)
- A professional career continuum with competitive compensation; (according to recent national surveys teacher morale is lower than it has been in years)
- Conditions that support successful teaching and learning; (accountability systems that promote standardization and teaching for the test) and
- Engaged communities (media reports would lead one to suspect that some communities are as enraged as they are engaged)