Too Much Love
Let us assume, as I am willing to do out of respect for the late Senator Ted Kennedy, that the education reform movement in this country originated from a place of love, caring, compassion and a desire for equity. No matter how corrupted and twisted these values may have become and no matter how hijacked the effort has been by testing companies, politicians and ideological zealots; it probably started from something good, pure and hopeful.
Love. Caring. Compassion. Equity.
I am a fan of all these things. I can’t get enough of them. And they are difficult to argue against.
STOP THE CARING NOW!!
DOWN WITH COMPASSION!!
HEY-HEY!! HO-HO!! E–QUI–TY HAS GOT TO GO!!!
See what I mean? The focus group results on these were terrible.
But we have a problem. The Achievement Gap doesn’t even have to try anymore. It just sits back and watches us eat ourselves. The Raised Bar of Caring; the Data Walls of Compassion; the Rubrics of Equity; and the Differentiated Instruction of Love have failed in all but driving teachers to the Brink of Drink.
But there is so much invested in this movement by the aforementioned testing companies, politicians and ideological zealots that the only idea with any traction in the halls of power is to double-down on more of the same.
Has it helped kids?
Well…no. No Child Left Behind has failed by all of its own measures. The Gap is doing great.
Meanwhile, teachers are hating their jobs and we shove billions of dollars and hours down the Rabbit Hole of Caring, Compassion, Equity and Love in the name of caring, compassion, equity and love in hopes that these things will bring up the bottom.
But the bottom doesn’t do any work and doesn’t give a shit. We are all starting to get the sneaking suspicion that not working and not giving a shit might be a causal factor in finding one’s self at the bottom. We are also starting to suspect that perhaps teachers cannot make people work and give a shit simply because they very much wish they could.
Meanwhile, the top and the middle, along with their teachers, all get screwed while the bottom keeps digging the Rabbit Hole deeper in order to keep up with the additional pissed-away time and money.
As President Obama said in his nomination acceptance speech last week…teachers must inspire; principals must lead; parents must instill a thirst for learning, and students, you’ve got to do the work.
Seems to me that the focus on everything we in the schools could do and should do has far outstripped what has been asked of parents and students. Let’s apply the “no excuses” doctrine to them. If the bottom 25% of students would give a 50% effort 75% of the time, the Achievement Gap would be reduced to an Albanian prison diet.
Parents and students, even if you’re poor…no…ESPECIALLY if you’re poor; it’s time to get up off your asses. It’s important.