Let us make the solution to the challenges facing public education in America as simple as possible.
Providing a quality education to every child who arrives at our door is as simple as 1-2-3-4-5-6.
- Children need to feel special and experience what it is like to have one or more favorite teachers on whom they can depend for the long term;
- Students must start at whatever point on the academic preparedness continuum where we find them when they arrive at our door;
- Boys and girls must be able to depend on us to give them however much time and attention they need to learn from the mistakes they make, every step along the way;
- Kids must understand they are being asked to both learn and employ the lessons, principles, and discipline with which each of them can create success for themselves, throughout their whole lives; it is a process of success;
- Our children must be taught to celebrate their successes and the successes of the people in their lives, always; as success is an experience best shared; and,
- Educators must learn that it is the success of our students, not the promises we make, that will draw parents and guardians in as partners.
We must understand there is no one, perfect solution to the challenges of public education. Technology is but one example. Digital technology is not the solution to the problems in education rather it is a tool, the value of which is measured by its utility to teachers and students.
We must reimagine how to ensure that everything teachers and schools are asked to do will support our mission. The mission is to send every young adult out into the world with the knowledge, skills, and wisdom they need to find joy for themselves and their families; in pursuit of whatever meaningful goals they set for themselves.
To carry out this mission superintendents, administrators, teachers and policy makers must be willing to break from the traditions of the past. The Hawkins Model© is one example of how that might be done.
The logic behind these six objectives might be simple, but the work they will require of educators will be hard. These goals require that we embrace the notion that education is an uncertain science. It requires that we all work, relentlessly, to develop our craft.
What does a craftsperson do? They must apply all their knowledge, skills, and collective wisdom to discern the unique needs of individual children and then utilize an eclectic portfolio of tools and methodologies to instill success in the hearts and minds of those children. Not everything they do will work so they must keep striving until they find something that does. They must never stop learning and they must never give up. Teachers must never permit their students to give up and stop learning.
Our teachers must be free and willing to give fully of themselves, without fear of recrimination. Creating a quality education for all will require a level of effort, dedication, courage, and camaraderie comparable to that which our medical professionals, first-responders, and so many other men and women are demonstrating in response to Covid-19.
These men and women are heroes and the work they do saves lives and a nation. Teachers are also heroes and the work they do will save lives and, also a nation.