After several illuminating conversations yesterday with different SASSy people, I’ve come to a realization. That realization is that the pace of public education innovation might best be described as “glacial.” Actually I think that comparison might be doing today’s glaciers a disservice.
Anyway, let’s take a current example from the Inner Workings of the Palace of Profundity. Our Fearless Leaders have decided (along with most of the faculty) that asking students that are struggling in classes to voluntarily stay after school for intense tutoring sessions isn’t being very cost effective primarily because none of the students are attending. Myself, I find this concept shocking. I simply would never have been able to predict that students that aren’t doing the work required to receive good grades in class would be unwilling to spend more time in class voluntarily!
In any event, it has been decided that we shall offer a “Remediation Period” at some point in the school day for students receiving D’s and F’s in their various classes. The advantage to this program is that attendance would be required and it is more probable that students will actually attend sometimes.
The only thing that is remarkable about this idea is that our Fearless Leaders would like to implement this program six weeks from now! Can you imagine changing anything in public education in less than a decade?! It literally took me three years to get an APES course implemented in our county despite the fact it was already a state approved course and I was already qualified to teach it. We have also been talking about implementing collaboration between teachers of similar subjects in order to improve performance for two years (and we’re still no nearer actually seeing it implemented). And now you’re suggesting a wholesale alteration of the bell schedule in one short marking period?
For those of you not blessed with a job in the public education arena, please understand that this is akin to asking any/all of your employees to slightly adjust their arrival and departure times by 5 minutes while simultaneously doing an extra 5 minutes of work. Now you can see how impossible a request this is!
It will be interesting to see if we can achieve this Herculean Task in the allotted time. Personally I have my doubts and would be willing to open a pool on the matter. The chart will be marked off in 6 month increments and the winner will receive 90% of the winnings (less my 10% cut as the House).
I feel compelled to point out that this might actually work because this Remediation Period looks and smells an awful lot like those old-school “Study Halls” that we used to have and so this might not be innovation after all. However, in the event that repackaging old ideas is still being considered innovative, let’s take some bids!