In response to the posts relating to “Problems with a Co-worker,” a reader writes:
“I have worked in Scenario 5 districts, more than once. In those cases I made the decision to do what was right for kids. In those districts the accountability scores were horrible, and the board demanded improvement. The teachers were the problem; they did not want to teach kids.
I did was right for kids and insisted that teachers improve. The teachers screamed “foul” – loud and often. The board wanted improvement, but they did not want to listen to teacher griping. This goes back to some Brown wisdom, “School Boards exist to hear the complaints of teachers.”
I held the course despite the cries of “foul.” The board became agitated with the increasing complaints, which fueled the fire for even more complaints. I held the course. In the end the board was ready for me to go in order to keep teachers happy. I accepted a job in a bigger district and soon after my announcement, we learned that the school had moved from academically unacceptable to recognized.
The board caved, I didn’t, and the students won. But beware; don’t forget the part where I had to leave. Would I do it again the same way? No doubt about it.”
I have a friend who is a Superintendent who once observed, “Every Board wants change, as long as it is easy.” Adults and systems often settle for the path of least resistance. There is considerable comfort and power in the status quo. Conventional wisdom even reminds us, “If it’s broke, don’t fix it.” To constantly question the status quo requires a slightly different kind of personality.
That’s one reason why this blog exists. If you subscribe to Richardson’s philosophy of “If it’s not broke, break it;” or Brown’s philosophy of “The Principal is the only pure advocate for students;” or Schaper’s philosophy of “They may be turds, but they’re MY turds;” or Brezina’s philosophy of “If it’s not right for kids, it’s wrong;” then you have an inner obligation to constantly challenge and improve the system. And as I am often reminded, that obligation makes you the “freak.” Or, at least the freak within your system.
But what I have discovered is that there are isolated “freaks” everywhere. All they need is the knowledge that there are other freaks out there who are pushing and pulling their systems as hard as they are. And with that knowledge brings courage and stronger conviction.
As the LYS nation is well aware, the issue is not “those kids or those parents.” The issue is complacent adults. So keep pushing and pulling, they louder the complacent complain, the faster they are being moved from the status quo. And if the status quo is untapped student potential, a double digit achievement gap, and high drop out rates, why is that a bad thing?
Think. Work. Achieve.