I just looked at the calendar on my IPhone and it says I am supposed to go back to work on Monday. So be it. I haven’t really left my work anyway… I have been messing with stuff for the past month: developing our new program at the Chula Vista Nature Center, researching elements of our plan to eliminate grade levels, writing about how we raise resilient kids, brainstorming strategies to focus our teaching. Blogging.
Meanwhile, I noticed that the state of California still doesn’t have a budget agreement and that there is now a $26.3 billion deficit! The system is broke and it doesn’t appear that we are even structured to fix it!
I noticed that the U.S. Department of Education now has $5 billion in special funding set aside to promote the development of new innovative practices and I wonder if they are really ready for the innovations we have in mind!
I notice that Arne Duncan and President Obama are tweaking the NEA, the national teacher’s union, about the need for merit pay and opening up more charter schools– and that now they are both on the union “list”.
I notice that the NEA has been adamantly opposed to more charter schools… but they would like to unionize the ones that exist and steal their very best ideas! (By the way… the NEA is more than welcome to replicate our best practices!!!)
I notice that there is still some forward momentum around the effort to create one set of national curriculum standards and simultaneously wonder if that is really what is missing.
I notice that there has been no revision to NCLB and that we are still rolling up all our eggs in a very inadequate assessment basket called the California Standards Test. And since we are not likely to have hit all of our AYP targets for the first time, and since we chose not to spend valuable learning time teaching our students how to take the test... we will have to be prepared to defend our teaching practices and explain why our kids didn’t score at a level that NCLB demands. And, of course, we will have to demonstrate — to somebody– that we have a coherent plan for whatever ails us. And the people we will have to answer to are the ones that can’t seem to do their own job… which is to manage the state’s budget and provide for the needs of children!
As a matter of fact, I notice that the further away you get from actual classrooms where children and teacher live every day, the more delusional leadership becomes– like dancing in front of funhouse mirrors.
So… much has changed since we sent our students tumbling into a very brief summer recess back in June. And yet nothing has changed at all. Real change and innovation still has to come from within the walls of the school. And that is why I already set my alarm for Monday morning.