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The Secret to Fixing Bad Schools

Isn't what you think it is.

In a weekend when the local online rag, had articles titled "Is private school a good investment?" and "Welcome to the world of a teacher-less classroom" I found this article in the New York Times made a far more thought provoking argument about the issues surrounding education.

It's quite powerful reading, but not in the breathless and future-faux fashion that the Stuff articles exude. It's powerful because it's plain and quite ordinary, although the stats are impressive. The final paragraph sums up the issue of how to fix the failures in education.

School officials flock to Union City and other districts that have beaten the odds, eager for a quick fix. But they’re on a fool’s errand.

These places — and there are a host of them, largely unsung — didn’t become exemplars by behaving like magpies, taking shiny bits and pieces and gluing them together.

Instead, each devised a long-term strategy reaching from preschool to high school. Each keeps learning from experience and tinkering with its model. Nationwide, there’s no reason school districts — big or small; predominantly white, Latino or black — cannot construct a system that, like the schools of Union City, bends the arc of children’s lives.

Basically there is no quick fix. No technology. No performance pay. No bottled lightning.

There is belief in being the absolute best that you can.
There is effort to match that belief.
There is constant fine-tuning and review.
There is open and honest and critical conversation.
There is leadership that fosters the people.

For any school, or any system to be a worthy place, these things must be in play.

We don't need anymore superstars. Or more super shiny.

This of course doesn't bode well for those that make their money touting these superstars or these shiny ways, but so be it.

Across our country we have thousands of unsung individuals believing they can 'bend the arc of children's lives' and devoting their lives to that simple cause, every single day.

They are not heroes.

But still, lets believe in them.

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