Can We Just Stop?

straight talk about students and learning

I Fought Bureaucracy and Bureaucracy Won.

Is this a given? For crying out loud! Can We Just Stop? The system wins over innovation; status quo wins over creative problem-solving; lies win over truth; no wins over yes; adults win over kids. This is a description of a particular urban school district I a familiar with, and, I am sure, the majority of urban school districts across the country.

I heard a statement made yesterday about an innovative new district school: “If they think they are going to function as an in-district charter, they have another thing coming. That is not going to happen.”

This statement could be translated as, “If they think that they can step outside of the adult-centered bureaucracy and institute a student-centered, learning focused school, that is not going to happen on my watch!”

Do “educators” even listen to themselves? What would be so terrible about an “in-district charter” as an incubator for practices that could be easily translated to other in-district schools once they are proven to be successful! People fight for kids every day, and their voices are continually drowned-out by the background noise of the 76 Trombones of the school district bureaucracy.

How will this ever change under the current structure? Who is going to stand up and say – in this district, everyone is going to embrace proven student-centered practices – teachers, unions, district officials, parents, students, purchasing departments, business office staff, facilities, security, etc. Do they realize they are holding on to a sinking ship? Kids are counting on these “professionals” to take a calculated risk and say that our failed practices and structure are weighing this ship down to the point of sinking. To extend the ridiculous metaphor – throw the ballast overboard and return the ship to sea-worthiness.

Where are those people? I know they are out there, scattered across the country in pockets, all fighting the same battle. Sadly, it seems that even those who would innovate enter a school district and start to drink the kool-aid. The monster that ate Cincinnati (not chosen for any particular reason) is on the prowl. I am utterly disgusted and frustrated.


August 20, 2011 Posted by | Education Reform | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment