Monday, May 25, 2015

Stop Pretending

I recently read a post by Bill Ferriter (Twitter handle is @plugusin) titled: "Here's What We Have to Stop Pretending." In this post, Mr. Ferriter does a great job of mentioning that we need to stop many unproductive truths in education if we want to see our profession improve. After some thought, actually several days of thinking, I have one area that as educators we need to stop pretending works. In my opinion, this is one of the biggest mistakes I see repeated throughout the country. Will stopping this cure all of our ails? No, but it is a start....

We need to stop pretending that we can copy and paste a success from one district and plop it into another. We seem to be so hard-pressed to find the "miracle cure" in education, that we are willing to just blindly copy whatever program a district/school/classroom has and mirror it in our own. We want success so badly that we assume this successful program can be copy and pasted into our own?

When will we realize that education can not and should not be carbon copied. We work in a community where humans interact constantly. With that interaction comes different thoughts, feelings, reactions and attitudes. These differences are what make our job so great and difficult all at the same time. These differences need to be taken into account when we try to just copy and paste a program that was successful elsewhere.

What would I like to see? I would love if education took a cue from the pharmaceutical world. We should provide a footnote after our success stories that explicitly list the possible side effects of using the program. We should be told that initially, only 75% of the kids were successful. We should be told it took 3 to 5 years of intensive planning and communication from the administration to have it be a success. I think we would get a much better picture of how hard it would be to replicate that program's success...

Does this mean I am against "borrowing" from others? Absolutely not. I think sharing ideas and successes is the great part of having a PLN and being connected. I think we just need to realize that the successes we read about should never be viewed as "quick fixes". There were years of planning and hard work that came before the success. You have to be willing to put that same amount of time in if you plan on being nearly as successful as the other one.

What are some things in education you think we need to stop pretending about?

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