how badly do you want it?
I believe that we as educators (myself most definitely included) are much better at talking than at doing. Too often, we are orators and not doers. If our desire is to make the system more responsive to student need, then we are falling woefully short. We have the power to enact large scale change, so why isn't it happening? I believe that it's because:
we lack imagination and ambition
Change requires us to dream big and to implement big.
"if we do not imagine, it won't be done"
- Muhammad Yunus
To those living through difficult situations, it seems as though it will never end. The answers seem too far away and too complex. These intractable situations last until someone or a group of "someones" decide that they must end. 20th century social reformers did not have the luxury of connective technology but they still were able to leverage the tools that they did have to rally people to their cause. They succeeded because they willed it to be. We have unlimited access to information and access to a rich network of educators but the movement is stalling. The individuals in the video above have all faced situations far more difficult than the proposition of changing public education. They did it. So why can't we?
we are plagued by our response to constraints
We are constantly presented by constraints as educators. It is up to each and every one of us to determine how we deal with them. Issues of schedule, programming and accountability will ALWAYS be present. Our choice is the manner in which we approach them. Do we choose to creatively address these constraints or do we choose to let them define our practice?
(This section has been revised from a previously published version. I had a couple of good friends have a courageous conversation with me about the tone of the prior version. I believe in empowering educators and frankly, the previous version didn't read that way. I appreciate being called out.)
I believe that change is a function of:
I am lucky enough to regularly witness, both online and in person, dedicated educators working towards change. This is not an easy process. There will be failure along the way but they are striving towards something better. Their mistakes and failures will ultimately lead to success. These visionaries recognize that the pay-off is worth the risk. We have to remember that doing "nothing" is not a value neutral proposition. They choose to value student need. They recognize that the needs of our past and present cannot be conflated with the needs of students' in the future. I have seen educators embrace all of the constraints of public education to craft a truly creative response. They succeed because they operate from a position of desire, intention and courage. We have to recognize top down no longer works (if it ever really did!). We must empower networks or hubs of educators to scale UP contextualized and proven practice. We must empower educators to feel strong and able.
powerful education is relevant and open
We don't have to wait for permission to create these networks, we just need to find the fortitude and ambition to do it. Networked change is real change. We must constantly be looking to "fail forward". We have to intentionally choose to act, learn and evolve.