Tuesday, January 18, 2005

"Sight" Based

It is interesting, I think, how the world of education mirrors the world around us. Since the foundation of our country, we the people have been locked in debate about the role of the central government. Inside the world of education, I think much the same debate has been taking place. What exactly should the role of the central office be in the everday business of conducting school as we know it?
I believe our schools run best when the central office is small in its power, and the school site has more authority over its everyday business. A central office that is too entwined with the running of specific schools, especially when those central offices manage multiple high schools, often does not have the sight necessary to properly direct the individual school.

Thoreau says about the government, "This American government—what is it but a tradition, though a recent one, endeavoring to transmit itself unimpaired to posterity, but each instant losing some of its integrity." In much the same way, though a much more entrenched tradition, district offices operate without a vision open to change. As a result, central offices that hold dearly to tradition, lose sight of what is best for its sites.
Before those that might read and fume with anger at my youthful pretentiousness, I again look to Thoureau for better words than I might write: "I ask for, not at one no government, but at once a better government. Let every man make known what kind of government would command his respect, and that will be one step toward obtaining it. " In my reality, I think that the voice of the teacher has been lost to the central offices--who are without question burdened by the heavy handed state and national regulators. But in making policy, or choosing curriculum, how do people make those choices, which greatly affect both student and teacher, without much discussion with the individual that will implement.?
With that said, I must remind myself that it is my responsibility as a teacher to be open minded to change, something that many teachers have failed to remember.
I believe that our staff knows what is best for our site. I also believe that we are different from the three other high schools in our district. I believe that to be that we need to return to sight based decisions concerning the success of our school.


At 11:18 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Considering that none of our district administrators have, other than occasional ten minute visits, been in a classroom in years- is it really surprising their "sight" is different than ours?
American government, and American schools, work best when the abstract visionaries collaborate with the concrete realists.
Suggestion: Put district admins back in the classroom to temper their educational visions with a healthy dose of student driven reality.
Theory and practice- tested before being arbitrarily required.

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