World-Class Education

       I'm not a competitive person.

       I'm one of those people who sees the value in the journey and believes that there is something to be learned from every situation.   And, "Who Cares" if I did better or worse than the next guy.

       As our public schools are taking their first steps to endeavor to teach our students at the same academic level with the highest performing countries in the world, we stand to learn much from our colleagues.  True learning is a complex process and enabling true learning via classroom instruction is an evolving process.  No single teacher can do it alone; we need the expertise that we can only gain from working together.

       This isn't going to happen if we are constantly concerned with gaining some sort of higher ranking than our neighboring school.  This can only be accomplished through hard work and constant dialogue with the teacher across the hall in-between classes; and during department and team meetings; and in the evenings via twitter chats and reading blogs and paging through journals and taking classes and...

       We are at a major turning point in public education in the United States.  We are making an honest attempt to raise standards and examine our teaching strategies.  We know that change is hard.  In fact I believe that the difficulty involved in this process of change is the piece that has prevented us from moving forward in the past and what may halt the process this time as well.

       The struggle to raise standards requires everyone to take an honest look their current abilities: teachers and students.  We can't be overly concerned about grades and we certainly can't be concerned about beating the next guy (or the next school) in some sort of artificial competition.  We will have a few years of teachers and students with the same abilities that are judged on different standards.  We are truly "raising the bar" and we have to expect some period of time before we are all able to clear that bar.

       It will happen, but it will take time and cooperation and hard work.  It isn't enough (anymore) for students to merely "do what they are told" in school.  They have to actually learn and use what they learn during the learning of future topics.  Teachers need to not only teach but also determine how well their students are learning--everyday.  Parents need to accept the results of standardized testing and encourage their children to ask questions and to spend more time reading and practicing and understanding.

       No one every became an olympic athlete without years of training.  That's what we are trying to do.  We want our students to compare with the best students in the world.  We want them to leave high school with multiple opportunities because they have the abilities to truly do whatever they want to do.  It's a marathon, not a sprint.


       So start stretching--we are in "training" mode.  And we need time to improve.



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