Those Good Ole 2008 Resolutions

Today is the start of a new year.  That means it is time for resolutions.  Typically, we promise to lose weight, spend more time with our families, and earn more money (at least those seem to be at the top of Eduflack’s list each year).  But a new year, particularly an election year, provides an interesting opportunity to determine what we resolve to do to improve K-12 education in the United States.

So here’s my list for what the education reform community should resolve to do in 2008:
* Advocate for reforms that are focused on outcomes, and not just the inputs.  Results matter.
* Ensure that all key stakeholders — educators, policymakers, business community, community leaders, and students — all have a seat, and a voice, at the reform table
* Avoid the silver bullets and magical elixirs that are being peddled every day.  Real improvement takes hard work, real commitment, and a long-term view
* Break down the silos, instead of building more walls.  We all share the same goal — improving student learning and student achievement.  We need all the help we can get.  We shouldn’t be excluding individuals, organizations, or audiences from the get-go.
* At the same time, we can’t stand for those who put up obstacles — rhetorically, politically, policy-wise, or practically.  We can’t win over 100 percent of the people 100 percent of the time.  That means we need to push through the obstacles, not dwell on them.
* We need to recognize and appreciate the education continuum.  PreK is going to be a big buzz word in State of the State addresses this month.  But that doesn’t mean that high schools or elementary reading and math no longer merit our attention or funding.  K-12 reform means reform across all 13 years of school.
* Put real reforms ahead of NCLB.  If there truly is interest in education issues and school improvement, we shouldn’t let a label like NCLB keep us from moving forward.

And as with other resolutions, we need to figure out a way to measure our effectiveness.  Yes, there are both quantitative and qualitative ways to measure educational effectiveness.  And both play a valuable role in measuring efficacy.  Regardless of the tool, we need to make sure our interventions work.  And we need to see them work in schools like ours, in classrooms like ours, with students like ours.

And what about Eduflack?  I have a few resolutions for this blog as well:
* To provide a regular stream of commentary, offering at least three posts a week (while personally hoping for one a day)
* To be more analytical, and a little less preachy (unless y’all want preachy, the soapbox is always ready)
* To throw a greater spotlight on those issues that aren’t getting the attention they deserve
* To build up the positive, instead of focusing on the negatives
* To accept that NCLB 2.5 (or are we at 3.0) should not be focal point for 2008.  If it passes, it passes.  If not, we move on.  Improvement, not NCLB reauthorization, is the goal.
* To amplify the call for national standards, even if it is as unpopular as a skunk at a garden party these days.  You have to stand up for what you believe.

All I ask is that you keep reading, keep me honest, and call me out when needed.  Here’s to 2008!

3 thoughts on “Those Good Ole 2008 Resolutions

  1. Groups like National Governors Association and Council of Chief State School Officers have been the strongest voices behind discussing this issue.  Perhaps the most interesting idea, though, has been the one put forward by Roy Romer, former Colorado Governor, LAUSD Superintendent, and current head of Ed in 08.  He’s advocated for bringing together a small group of education-focused governors, have them create the standards and abide by them.  Then the other states will follow.Check out this post of mine from October on the topic:

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