Wednesday, April 15, 2009

We Need to Look Closely

I know I'm lucky to teach at a fabulous school with a dedicated staff and darling children. I also know (although I do tend to forget sometimes) that my school is not the norm. I've worked for two amazing principals who have helped form an outstanding school.

That said, I still struggle with the idea that our educational system is as bad as it is rumored to be. I'm aware that there are many awful schools, especially those serving our most disadvantaged students. I do believe that there are many things we can and should do better in our schools. I'm just not fully convinced that it means our schools are failing our students, at least not across the board.

I was struck by Mark Pullen's recent post after Secretary Duncan called for longer school days, weeks, and years.

Is it really more accurate to say that some of our schools are failing some of our students? Or is it really a societal failure? Or a parental failure? Or even a prenatal failure, in some cases?

In addition to carefully pondering each policy idea coming from Mr. Duncan, I urge teachers everywhere to reconsider their tacit acceptance of the notion that our schools are a complete failure.

I think we need to be willing to carefully analyze everything about our educational system, but as we separate the wheat from the chaff, let's not throw them both out.

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