A Golden Rule of School Reform… Okay, Maybe a Few Golden Rules #WhatIfWeekly

From “Why Not Ask Teachers How They Would Improve Our Schools?,” Kenneth Bernstein, Nation of Change, 17 January 2013 (emphasis mine) —

We teachers are aware that our influence can be both positive and negative. To be certain that it is positive, we need to have our voices heard as educational policy is being formed. And yet, for too long, teachers have been forced when they are allowed to speak to do so in a frame that is not authentic. In my conversation with the reporter, she began a question by framing it in terms of “accountability,” and I immediately stopped her. Those of us who take teaching seriously dislike that word because it implies that we would not care nor act responsibly towards our students absent some outside measure. To a teacher, that is a wrong mindset, an improper frame that loses sight of the students for whom we are responsible.

Just to be clear, I agree with Bernstein – educational reform MUST include the voices of educators. But this post is not about my agreement with Bernstein.

This post is about the statement in bold above and repeated here – “Those of us who take teaching seriously dislike that word [accountability] because it implies that we would not care nor act responsibly towards our students absent some outside measure.”

But isn’t this exactly what many of us do to our students? We assume – intentionally or unintentionally – that they “would not care nor act responsibly” towards the curricula “absent of some outside measure.”

#GoldenRuleOfSchooling…
“Let’s do unto our student learners as we would want done to us.”

#ImaginingLearning
Let’s ask students what they want and need from their schooling reforms as well!

…and parents

…and various industry leaders

…and real-world problem solvers

…and …

#WeShouldAllWorkTogetherOnEducation

What if… we did.

[Hat tip to Charles McNair for passing along the article to me.]

What’s Your Brand? 4 R’s, Gold, Growth & a Herd

Today is OPENING DAY for The Westminster Schools Junior High School! Today we welcome the 561 students in grades six, seven, and eight! Today we begin another school-year journey together! Blessings to all for a tremendous 2011-12!

In the Junior High at Westminster, we begin Opening Day with a brief devotional assembly. Traditionally, the principal of the Junior High gives this devotional. It is a moment that I look forward to and cherish. This year, I am using the idea of “brand management” to detail a bit of wisdom about being our best selves…and helping others to be their best selves. For those that want a peek at the content of the message, you can access my slide deck two ways:

  1. If you are a Keynote user, you can download my slide deck at this public Dropbox folder: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/23676397/Branding%20and%20Herds.key 
  2. Also, I converted my Keynote to PowerPoint and uploaded the slide deck to Scribd. You can see it below, but the links and videos may not be live and active.

Here’s to a superb Opening Day, Junior High!