I’ve spent my professional 20s making a difference! Right out of college I went to Chicago to use my energy to bring positive change. Ah, youthful ignorance. After six years I was exhausted, not that hopeful, and I left. I don’t regret it, though I wonder about the unintended consequences of my actions.
I’ve taken a step back because I realize even our best ideas have unintended consequences that need to be recognized.
Here are a few things I believe
- Schools should not compete against one another for funding. All schools need to be adequately funded. Competition does not lead to improved educational outcomes for most children.
- Schools that are labeled failing don’t need to be threatened to closed, they need support to improve. The same goes for teachers. Evaluation systems should not be punitive but informative, for students, teachers, and schools.
I have many other beliefs, and they continue to evolve. On this blog I’ve shared what I thought about LIFO teacher layoffs, the Chicago Teachers Union Strike, Value Added Measurements for teacher evaluations, and Charters schools as reform. All of those topics are more complex than I understood at the time I wrote them, and in some issues I think differently now.
In the past six months to a year I feel like I have stepped back from focusing on solutions. Moving has been a big transition, and it has led to personal reassessment. I’ve been invigorated at my new school, and I love teaching. I’ve also been reading a lot of books and listening to discussions.
When George Canning, the brains of the British Empire, was celebrating its worldwide triumphs in 1823, the French chargé d’affaires had to swallow the humiliation of this remark: “Be yours the glory of victory followed by disaster and ruin, be ours the inglorious traffic of industry and an ever growing prosperity.… The age of chivalry is gone; and an age of economists and calculators has succeeded.”