SOUTH BRONX SCHOOL: Little Evan Stone Of Educators 4 Excellence Exposed!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Little Evan Stone Of Educators 4 Excellence Exposed!

Oh I wish I could write this well. Maybe when I am grayer and looking back on my career I will be able to. But for now, I want to welcome my mystery guest who compared what is happening in education now to the Vietnam War. The following was emailed to me over the weekend and I have permission to use it. Please read and enjoy.

My skepticism always kicks in when I see a title like 'Educators4Excellence'. When you pick a name like that, you are demonstrating the ultimate in arrogance and demonstrating the ultimate disrespect for colleagues. Half of teachers come to teaching with a vision of achieving excellence in education. Almost all of the other half come around to the desire for excellence. The rest leave because the work is too hard.

How do a handful of people with no educational experience declare themselves the prophets of excellence? How many years did they spend perfecting their craft? Unless great teachers are made in two years, not enough. How many years did they spend working with a School Leadership Team actually pursuing excellence in their school? Did they do it elsewhere? The answer to both those questions is probably little to no effort and they only worked in one setting. Like adolescents who think that their first infatuation is love, these people seem to think that the desire for excellence is all it takes to get there. That is just naive.

In the 1980s and especially in the 1990s, our city lost track of what school improvement meant. Creating a vision of excellence is one important first step for any school, but it is just a first step. As our educational leaders and their vision and understanding became more shallow, they started to believe that sticking the word excellence in a slogan for a failing school would turn everything around. That is quite superficial, a little like thinking that a suntan cures cancer. The nuts and bolts of creating excellence in education involves an entire school community in a concerted effort in application of resources. It can't happen in Bloomberg schools because he has disenfranchised staff and parents by undermining School Leadership Teams. In fact when we examine the curbs that the state legislature put on Mayoral Control to stop that from happening, we find that Mayor Bloomberg has ignored the law.

When a couple of newcomers declare "We're better than you" in any field, we know they are subversive. Their subversion may also be in service of themselves. For them the express path to 'excellence' may be to grasp at one or two issues, but if their idea of excellence involves one or two issues they will never achieve anything. People who seize on one or two issues, particularly at this time when Wall Street is trying to undermine the American Ideal of a quality education for all, are looking to get out of the sweat and tears business of trying to create great schools. These guys are better suited to careers in public relations than public service, and I'm sure that after the depart there will still be 100,00 Educators for Excellence fighting for students against the Bloomberg corporate machine.

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