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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Death of Schools

With Easter just behind us I have had a time to reflect on a question asked in church on Sunday. “Why do you seek the living among the dead?” This was not directly asked of me, but apparently I also had my teacher hat on at the time because I remember smiling—more of a smirk, actually—as I thought, “that is a great question for America’s schools.”

Why do teachers seek the living among the dead? Why do we want better results yet keep our practices largely unchanged? Why do we insist kids use archaic tools such as the triple beam balances and at the same time prohibit the use of their electronic world? Why do we expect them to trust others, when we won’t demonstrate our trust for them; when we script their every thought and move. Why do teachers seek the living among the dead?

Why do school administrations seek the living among the dead? Why do they look ahead to school excellence yet focus their efforts on raising the bottom to the middle? That will make America great at mediocrity, but when is the last time you were excited by a mediocre anything?  Why do administrations seek the living among the dead?

Why do Federal and State education decision makers seek the living among the dead? Why do they demand better performance by kids, only to insist they are measured by standardized tests? Clearly what we need from our kids is innovation, not standard achievement? Synonyms for standard include normal, typical, average, usual, ordinary, and customary. Why do the moneylenders seek the living among the dead?

Why do parents seek the living among the dead? Why do they expect their children to be the future, yet allow them to stay up too late, feed them poorly, ask them to divide time and devotion between split households. Why do parents seek the living among the dead?

Why do students seek the living among the dead? Why do they expect good grades without putting in the work? Why do students seek the living among the dead?

Why do any of us seek the living among the dead for anything?  Why do we expect positive results to come from poor decisions? Why do we expect change to happen when no one changes?

How can we keep our schools from dying? In your circle of influence, what is your living and what is your dead? How can you, how can I, stop seeking the living among the dead?

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