Friday, December 12, 2014

We're Never Satisfied

       I was going to title this post, "We're Never Happy", but I didn't think that that would be a good title for a post about a blog that is supposed to talk about the good things about education.  (I guess I haven't caught on to the idea of catching-the-reader's-interest-with-a-provocative-title.  Slow learner [!].)


       A few years ago public schools had a rating system called Adequate Yearly Progress.  The idea was that we would measure the progress of schools by the percentage of students who were learning at or above grade level.  Each year the target (called the Annual Measurable Objective) for what was to be considered "Good" or "Making good progress" was raised a little bit.  The idea was that after 12 years, everyone would have a target of 100%--that is, 100% of the students in your school would be learning at or above grade level.

       People would say, "100% is unrealistic"; and the response would be, "OK. Let's make it 95% or 90%.  Just, tell me which students in your school will be the ones whom we will say 'It's OK with us if you don't learn at or above grade level.' "  Do you want to be the person who says this to a student?  Do you want to be the person who says this to their parents?

  Hence, we (as educators) are never satisfied.  We are the football coach that is always pushing his players to work harder.  We are the sales manager that is always pushing her salesman to sell more.  We are the artist that is always pushing ourselves to paint better.  We are the President of the United States who wakes up everyday unsatisfied because someone in the country is unemployed and wants a job.

       We have lots of successes around us all of the time.  But we never have 100% success.  And we care about everyone of our students; and we want all of them to succeed.  It's not that we aren't happy or aren't proud of our students who have succeeded.  We just want all of them to succeed.

       And that is What's So Good About Public Education in America...We are never satisfied until we figure out a way to help all of our students to succeed.  I believe we are doing better than ever before.  Through professional learning communities and strong leadership at all levels, we are seeing successes that we didn't see many years ago.  Through research about learning and research about how the brain works, we are working smarter than ever before.

       But we're never satisfied until we truly reach all students.

Public Schools and Choice

       Is it true that public school kids and their public school parents don't have choices?  I'm sure that I will expose my igno...

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