I am blessed that we live in one of the best school districts in our area. However I admit even our schools have lots of problems . I often have to wonder if my kids are getting the best education possible. Ohio has major issues with the way public schools are funded and it has negatively affected nearly every school in the state. With 4 failed levies, educational programs are being cut left and right for my kids’ schools. Teachers are discouraged with the lack of community support, cuts in pay, decreases in training, and being increasingly forced into teaching just what the kids need to know for standardized tests.
Teacher morale is at an all-time low in our district. Public school teachers these days have to feel stifled and undervalued. Consistent failed levies have told our teachers that they aren’t worth our tax dollars. You know that has to effect their teaching on some level. With each failed levy, there are more cuts to educational supplies and teacher training.
As a parent who wants the best education possible for her kids, I know that the current educational system isn’t working. Yet no one seems in a hurry to do anything about it. In nearly every profession, there is a focus on growth. Yet teachers seem to fall prey to stagnation. Why is it that a country that seems to be so focused on improving the quality of education seem to place so little value on the teachers themselves. I think the answer is that we have grown to expect mediocrity. We have become complacent and accepting of the current situation and feel powerless to make any changes.
After reading the book Mission Possible: How the Secrets of the Success Academies Can Work in any School by Eva Moskowitz and Arin Lavinia, I am viewing our school district with a much more critical eye. I am seriously considering giving my copy to the principal at my daughters’ elementary school.
Mission Possible shares the inner workings of the Success Academies – a series of schools in underprivileged areas of New York City – whose students are consistently performing as well as students in gifted schools. Unlike the gifted schools, students at the Success Academies did not have to meet rigorous academic standards to be admitted, in fact they are mostly comprised of those students we would label disadvantaged – minorities and poor. These are students that other schools would have long given up on and written off as being destined to fail. Yet they continue to far exceed expectations.
The one thing that impressed me the most after reading Mission Possible is that we really need to shift the focus away from class sizes and per student spending to ensuring that we are providing the highest quality teachers and leaders for our schools. The Success Academies are proving that when you focus on the adults and increasing the caliber of their teaching and leadership, then the kids can do amazing things.
Whether you are an educator or a parent of a school-aged child, Mission Possible is a very enlightening read. We do not need to settle for mediocrity. When we set the bar higher, students will rise to accept the challenge. We shouldn’t be accepting anything less.
Want to connect with the author of Mission Possible to learn more?
I have a copy of Mission Possible: How the Secrets of the Success Academies Can Work in any School to give away to one lucky A Heart Full of Love reader. Entry is easy through the Rafflecopter form below.
Disclosure: I was compensated for this post. All opinions stated are my own.