School change: If we reach our goals will society be satisfied?

by Steve Wyckoff on August 20, 2010

With the opening of schools I’ve had the opportunity to speak to several faculties about school change. I especially enjoy the dialogue that I get to have with the teachers even though we never have enough time to really dig in to the most important topics.

One of the questions that I ask of any audience I speak to is, “If all of our students were proficient on state standardized tests, and we had no dropouts, would society be satisfied with our graduates?” In the last week I’ve had the opportunity to ask this question of several hundred teachers. Not one, zero, nada, teacher said that society would be satisfied.

My point is this, we are working harder than we’ve ever worked in education, and getting better results than we’ve ever gotten, focusing on standardized tests, and more recently reducing the dropout rate. Yet there is a sense that even if we reach our goals, they are the wrong goals.

Nobody wants to talk about it but there’s a real sense that we are not focusing on preparing kids for their future in the 21st century, but rather the pursuit of higher test scores to please politicians and bureaucrats. I don’t think that’s the kind of school change we were looking for. – Steve Wyckoff

Previous post:

Next post: