Note: This continues my exploration of Philip Schlechty’s book, Leading for Learning.
- The involvement of business leaders in school reform efforts often results in a recommendation for some form of merit pay based on rationalized performance standards that are clearly measurable by some objective means.
- Jim Collins observes: “We must reject the idea–well-intentioned, but dead wrong–that the primary path to greatness in the social sectors is to become “more like a business.” Most businesses–like most everything else in life–fall somewhere between mediocre and good. When you compare good companies with great ones, many widely practiced business norms turn out to correlate with mediocrity, not greatness. So, then, why would we want to import the practices of mediocrity into the social sectors?”
- When it comes to education policy, it seems increasingly the case that all policy is national, including policies administered by the states.
- Most teachers and most school administrators are more oriented toward serving the children in their classrooms and their local communities well than they are in challenging the elites who now dominate the argument about schools and standards.
- Those who lead the transformation of schools–and it must be a grassroots movement [we’re doomed]–must be prepared to lead a counterrevolutionary movement at the same time they are launching a revolutionary one [which is to say, I guess, that PS wants us to fight back as insurgents do an invading power while trying to revolt…looks like just a bare wasteland, a battlefield will be all that’s left of schools!!! How many educators signed up for war? Not a one.]
Ok, this has to be the most unrealistic chapter of the book (of course, I haven’t finished it). The reason why is simple–educators in the United States (as compared to Australian educators) are passive and have little interest in mobilizing to achieve transformation of schools into learning organizations, assuming they even understand what learning organizations are in the first place. And, it should also be pointed out that educators are supposed to fight back, willing to lose their jobs and meager salaries, for the establishment of ideas, higher engagement when the politics and big money (even the churches) are trying to impose their worldview on them…I’m sorry, I just don’t see this fighting back as a solution educators will embrace.
The truth is, most educators probably could care less about the politics and big money. Some may even support the efforts being made at dismantling schools, using the chaos caused by legislative change to justify the statements that schools are failing and should be taken apart.
Even if every teacher started blogging, contributing money to change the political landscape, lobbying and marching on the capital would it be possible to fight off the billionaires and millionaires seeking to remake schools, siphon off taxpayer funding, etc.?
That may be the only way to go. But I don’t suppose losing your job will be sufficient motivation. How do we “catch people on fire” without being burned ourselves? Ah well, late night ramblings muttered into the ether.