I am continuously disappointed and disturbed by what the media says about education. Each day I walk through classes and am amazed by what our students say and do. I promise that if you could walk in my shoes, you too, would be impressed. Last week I witnessed Socratic seminars in the English classes at high school that astounded me. Students were asking tough questions and thinking about important issues. I watched students pound through some complex science and math concepts that I am certain none of us faced until college. Connie and I have daily conversations with high school students who are articulate, curious, and confident. Best of all, they are willing to take intellectual risks which we believe is incredibly important for the future of our country. Those straight A students are willing to discuss more than just their GPA’s. Think about it. If our brightest students are afraid to take intellectual risks, how can we ever make progress as a country? I am one hundred percent certainthat while we do have many areas to grow, education is better than it has ever been in our country. Yet, as we read the newspapers we are inundated with headlines that evoke fear and a sense of crisis in public education.The focus on high stakes test scores is incredibly disturbing and destructive. Make no mistake, standardized testing has a useful and important place in education. However, when tests designed to trick students are used to place blame and punish teachers/students, we have a problem. People blame teachers. People blame parents. People blame students. Blame does nothing productive. Education has consistently improved throughout the years but there are still problems that need to be addressed. I believe this should be done through supporting teachers rather than blaming them. As a charter school leader, it is often assumed that I support the ever increasing number of charter schools. That is not necessarily true. What I do support is one of the original intentions for charter schools in North Carolina; that they be used as lab schools to inform public education at large. It is no secret that large school districts often face great bureaucratic challenges as they attempt to innovate. Charter schools allow us to try innovative ideas on a smaller scale that can AND SHOULD be replicated in our public schools. CSD is committed to this purpose for charter schools and we continue to work towards bridging the gap between charter schools and traditional public schools in our local community. You see, we MUST educate all children if we want to have a thriving community, state, and country. As corny as it may sound, education for all is pivotal for the success of our country. I am grateful to lead at a school where the staff, parents and students respect the power of education enough to want it for all children and families. Thank you for believing in the work that we are doing beyond the walls of CSD and thank you for knowing that despite what the media may say, teachers continue to make gains in educating our country’s children but they need the support of everyone in our communities to be successful.
If you know of any teachers, professors, home schoolers, parents, etc. who want to learn and collaborate about education, PLEASE encourage them to register for our Fresh Take conference scheduled for January 23. More information available on our website at csdspartans.org if you are interested. Join us in a collaborative effort to share and grow as people who care about education.
Education is not broken. But it does need our attention and support.
Have a great week!
Joy and Connie