Saturday, October 10, 2009

Joe Brothers' Mighty Question

During Thursday's KBE meeting, as the discussion moved from weaknesses in 2009 scores to KDE plans to get stronger results in 2010 and beyond, Chairman Joe Brothers put a truly fundamental question on the table:

I came on the local board in 1987. What you just said to me is no different than what I heard in 1987. So why should I be hopeful?

Why should I spend the two hundred hours I spent to come to this meeting once every two months and talk about the same thing I was talking about in 1987 at the local level?

What are we going to do change the culture to educate our kids?
Because we’re talking about nice things with good people, but we’re not talking about changes to culture and it’s going to require a culture change.

We have one of two ways to go here, folks.
We can change the goals, which is our tradition, get our politicians to go and change the test or we can step up to it and change the culture. Our kids are waiting in the process and I don’t think I’m being unreasonable or unnecessarily harsh in this. This is 25 years that we’ve been talking about this.

* * *

Tell me what we’re going to do that we should be hopeful that this time we’re going to get it right? We heard from three districts yesterday that I think have done that but we can’t do this three districts at a time.

The video link is here, with his question starting at 1:36:45.

In my opinion, it is the core question. To his 25 years, I'd offer that my oldest child entered the Kentucky primary program in 1993 and my youngest will graduate in 2012. I think we knew what children needed on Molly Weston's first day, and our schools won't be doing it consistently on Joe Westons's last, and it's time for our discussions to address that giant lag.

Answering the chairman's poignant question should, I think, be central to the new vision KDE is developing for Race to the Top and beyond.

I'll offer my best first draft of my own answer tonight or early tomorrow.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Updates and data on Kentucky education!