It is only here in America (especially here in ) where we feel that we are entitled to dictate to those whose profession is different than our own. To illustrate my point let’s look at Dr. Barr’s Letter to the Editor. Dr. Barr is an MD (medical doctor). Would any of us that are not MD’s think to judge Dr. Barr’s work?
Probably not. In the here and now though there are many, including Dr. Barr, that are judging whether or not our education establishment is doing its’ job. They are doing this based on the most recent set of magazine rankings of our public high schools. The criterion that is used to set those rankings changes from year to year yet some of us hold those rankings in high esteem.
As adults we should recognize the truth: the end result of any child’s education is dependent on many variables beyond what happens in the classroom. I don’t have enough digits to count them all so I will only discuss what to me is the most important variable. It is one that we used to hold dear in America. It is the variable of individuality.
Each year our schools are given a different set of children and each child within that group is different. They come from different homes, they are different genders, and each has different abilities, different interests, different health and learning issues. They develop at different rates and they can have things happen to them that can interrupt their development at any point in time. And believe it or not they are not born with a piece of paper in their hands saying what their potential is. We should keep this truth in mind because individuality is the greatest determinant of output and potential, not a school system.
We can all be armchair practitioners for any profession if we choose to do enough reading, but are we really practitioners of that profession if all we do is sit at home and read about it? Our schools here in Bloomfield Hills not only have to deal with external forces that are constantly in flux and the individuality of each student, but now the armchair education practitioners are constantly, exceedingly and very publicly judgmental of them. I think that we need to stick to our own fields and allow the education professionals to do their jobs as they allow us to do ours. If we want to do something constructive then we should lend our expertise where it is needed and otherwise follow their lead.
Most importantly if we truly want to make our schools better then we need to restore funding to our schools. After all we can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. How we go about doing this is up to us as individuals. We can go to our governments in Lansing and Washington and say enough is enough.
Achievement isn’t just about tests and equal results, but it is about desire and interest in a topic or topics as well as the opportunity to explore a thought. If we have a desire to increase outcomes then we should be spending our energies in the places they are truly needed and quit making accusations of failure in what has and continues to be one of the premiere school districts in the nation.