We worked all morning, listening to and discussing a report by Marc Tucker. My reaction is that although the Tough Choices or Tough Times report was controversial, it is not just a report. It’s a plan — and I respect that. It’s radical, but radical is the least we’re going to need.
Then we had a fishbowl activity, which I’ve described already. I got up and took a seat toward the end and waited my turn. As it turned out, time ran out and I didn’t get to share. So here’s what I was going to say.
I, like several of the chiefs, have begun to feel some optimism about education in my country. People are starting to talk again, consider some possibilities, and to get excited about education. I would have to say that my level of excitement crested over the past two days, because these folks do get it. In reality, most educators “get it!” This group, however, gave me more optimism than I’ve felt in probably a decade. The quest is…
Can the sell it?
The gist of the fishbowl conversation was convincing various stakeholders of need and the direction. I was going to mention James (see What I wish I’d Said below and many other references to Jennifer James I’ve made before) and her elements of a compelling story. I was going to state that fitting the market place is made. It’s at least half of what this conference has been about. Resonating with deeply held values is a given. It’s the kids and their lives and future.
The tough case is going to be coming up with something that they can model, something that they can point to.
I was reminded of the youngsters we met and listened to yesterday, wishing that I could take these very bright and insightful young people and move them forward ten years. We need to think past our challenges, past the changes that will certainly continue to happen, and envision a successful student living in a successful country, enjoying the fruits of their labors and the thrill mastering and inventing new worlds. We need a target — a picture of our children’s future that is so compelling and so energizing that people will clamber to say, “OK, let’s scrap it, start all over, and do it right. That’s what we want for our children and our future.”
All that said, I’ve spent a few more minutes and put together another animated gif of the skater I watched last night. Enjoy!