Trap of New Structures
Tragedies like hurricane Katrina in New Orleans and Covid in our whole country shine a spotlight on giant holes in the effectiveness of our education system. They bring out calls for revolutionary responses, totally new approaches, reorganizing the basic components of the system. These approaches have always aimed at new structures like choice, charters, and new models. …or new sanctions like getting rid of unions and punishing underperforming schools.
Some of the revolutionary models that are proposed are healthy and expansive, like those that are aimed at Child Centered Learning, developmentally designed schools, and more recently Deep Learning. But rarely are they adopted at scale.
Never has there been a revolution aimed at teacher and leader expertise that could operate within any model.
It is happening once again. We now have documented “learning losses” of three months in reading and four months in math. [Jay King Caspian, “Our Kids are Behind In School. Here’s How to Help.” New York Times, January 10, 2022]
Pause here, please, and consider this idea: The expertise about learning science (1) for teachers and those who lead schools is the highest leverage place we can act to improve the learning experiences and achievement of our children. Nationwide, the resources and the fractured system that builds the expertise of our educators denies them access and continual learning about the high-expertise practice of which they are capable. Let’s figure out the structure that will cure that!
“…it seems the worst possible outcome would be a capricious transformation in education that capitalizes on political frustrations and demonizes the very public school teachers who have the experience and the commitment to see us through the crisis.”
Jay King Caspian
Our teachers have the commitment all right, but not the support for constant learning about the most complex human endeavor imaginable - interactive classroom teaching.