Setting Aside the Vitriol in School Improvement

If we know anything, it is that we have much work in front of us if we are serious about providing all students — regardless of race, family income or zip code — access to truly great public schools.  There are no quick fixes here, nor should we be foolish enough to think one entity has all of the answers to just do it alone.

Yet we continue to see extreme vitriol permeating our discussions about school improvement.  Instead of focusing on the merits of ideas and the importance of outcomes, we continue to personalize the fight and resort to name calling and bullying to try and protect a status quo that we all realize cannot remain.
Over at the CT News Junkie this morning, Eduflack has a commentary on why real school improvement efforts require a team effort.  It is a valuable read that is applicable to virtually any state working toward reform.
For us to be truly successful, we must engage the entire educational “village” – the village we saw firsthand at last Thursday’s education reform summit. From the teachers unions, to superintendent and board of education groups, to think tanks, to community organizations, to advocacy groups, we’re all in this together. And as the adults in the village, it’s our job to focus on the kids. We must stop with the name-calling and the feigned procedural concerns. When we look back in 20 years and ask “What became of the Year for Education Reform?” the worst possible thing would be to say that this unprecedented moment was hijacked by a few status quo defenders who won out by making everyone feel icky. What a disappointment that would be. Can’t we do better, Connecticut?

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