Sunday, August 11, 2013

Experience changed my mental model . . .

I appreciate the anonymous comment to my last post on New York's Common Core assessment results.  The comment ends with the following paragraph, a mental model that I once held, but one that  no longer influences my behavior.

Education really is an enigma. Everyone, for the most part, has had an experience. Everyone believes how they went to school and the way THEY learned is how it should be done now. You would never ask a doctor to make the incision a bit more to the right or question the lawyer in your case is that they right way to argue the point. You trust them, with the most important decisions in your life. I too, would like that kind of trust.

For a long time I believed this was the case for the majority of parents and community members, but over time I have come to believe that it doesn't need to be that way.  In our system we have implemented many changes to delivery models and to classroom practice, some of which have sustained and others that didn't.  Through these changes, however, our parents have trusted us to do what we believe is best for their children.  Though I don't believe that it is the norm in all school systems, for most in our community I believe it to be true.

Why is this the case?  I believe that it starts with a School Board that understands and supports the need for adult learning and for creating the capacity to adapt to changing demands.  It also requires a belief in transparency and understanding that collectively we have greater capacity to support the needs of our young people than we do as individuals or isolated teams.  Though there are many other factors supporting our current reality these are three essential components.  If you could add one, what would it be?


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