Qualified to Lead an Industry?

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I was at a social event recently where the guest list was made up primarily of affluent business owners and their guests (I was a guest). These people are successful in their fields… Lawyers, investors, developers, doctors, entrepreneurs, upper management, etc.

 

I’m the school guy, a true curiosity at such an event. When one of these people finds out what I do, they will share with me their theory of what is wrong with schools and how it should be fixed. They do this to validate their mastery of all things.  I let them dig their hole and then politely explain why they are completely wrong and educate them on the real issues and solutions. This conversation is almost always productive. After all, the event is social, and the last time most people have talked to an actual public education expert was when they were in the Principal’s office as a high school student.

 

The lesson here: Engage and educate at every opportunity.

 

But at this event, one person asked me a loaded question, “What do you think about (U.S. Secretary of Education) Betsy DeVos?”

 

I answered, “She’s a hack who isn’t savvy enough to realize she is in over her head.”

 

The guy’s tone changes, just a little defensive, and says, “Why do you say that.”

 

I respond, “Your companies manage hospitals. You are an expert in navigating regulations, managing resources, staffing and actually serving patients in an effective and humane manner. It is an important, complex industry with incredibly high stakes.”

 

The guy nods.

 

“I’m an educated, articulate, successful person in a different field, education. So obviously I’m eminently qualified to be placed in charge of the agency that creates policies and regulates your industry. Are you ready for me to manage you, right now?”

 

The guy is smiling and laughing now, and says, “Good point. Now, how do you think the Rockets will do this year?” 

 

The lesson here: We are the public-school experts in our community. Engage and educate at every opportunity.

 

Think. Vote. Lead.

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