The first quote is a variation on the second quote. The first quote is mine. The second is taken from a once popular comic strip entitled Pogo.

Both are certainly true. We are after all the sum of the future to be. And at the very least, when it comes to our educational future we are certainly our own enemy either because those who would criticize education and educators rightly or wrongly were after all, TAUGHT by us, or because we haven’t created an educational system capable of facing the future that confronts us even before it is a future!

Usually, in college courses, workshops, or consults I teach or do I make time early on, to address what Bloom would call the “Knowledge” level. You know, he would have argued that one can’t expect learners to think at a high level until they have acquired basic facts and information. I will argue with that notion vociferously another day. Nonetheless it is usually the tactic that I begin with when working with others, that is, give them the basic vocabulary, the basic facts and concepts of systems, of systems changes, of high involvement precepts toward collective empowerment of educational planners and leaders before we can actually begin trying to make any meaningful changes in the first place.

But I am going to try something different here for the time being. This afternoon I have to travel to a school that has been identified as a school in need by the state for its achievement scores, specifically those scores of students with disabilities. Wednesday I have to go to two other schools with not only students with disabilities as a deficit but also those of English Language Learners’.

I will never reveal these schools to you and will fudge anecdotal conversation here to do that if need be. But it also strikes me that my recounting what I encounter in these schools will dramatize better than a basic Bernato lecture what systems change may really mean to educational leaders.

As I get ready to go to School X I am aware of their poverty and transient issues. I am also aware of the herculean efforts by administrators  and teachers there to overcome these as impediments to student success.

I am also aware of the expectation the State Education Department has on my own leadership. It is to enable the school local leaders to engage a self study of their school’s practices and organization to strengthen their many strengths and to strengthen whatever weaknesses may emerge from their  self analysis.

And then I begin to wonder… does an outside agency’s very noble intent to assist the school’s self study actually translate to the school’s ability to rectify the perceived deficits unless all the systemic variables are present in the first place?

Oh you need to know I am dying to TELL you what systemic variables I alluding to. I won’t yet as I am experimenting with you. I would rather have you  deduce these from the anecdotes I will share than to flat out TELL you what they are!

Isn’t that what good teaching is supposed to be about? But if you can’t wait, go to http://www.infed.org/thinkers/senge.htm.

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