Some of you may already know that I’ve spent the last week at a series of seminars sponsored by the school district which focus on the implementation of “Professional Learning Communities” within our schools. It may come as a bit of shock to some of you who claim to have me all figured out, but I actually think that these PLC’s might be a useful paradigm to improve our schools in nearly every direction; it’s going to take an adustment to a new way of thinking for some of the “more traditional” teachers. New (or forgetful) readers will remember that the basic concept of the PLC is that teachers of similiar subjects will use common assessments with their students and then discuss their results with each other in an attempt to reflect on what they’ve done well and what needs improved upon. SASS members in other fields are no doubt agast at the idea that a professional community hasn’t already been doing this, and in defense I can only offer that “this is the way we’ve always done it.” Three Cheers for Public Education! Right?!
Because this is such a “revolutionary” concept, one of our district’s Fearless Leaders cautioned us to not try to change everything at once and to remember that “education is a process of evolution, not revolution.” Apparently asking our teachers to start suddenly acting like seasoned professionals is too much for us to adopt all at once. I would like to say that perhaps she was overreacting, but let’s be honest. If we suddenly start holding our teachers accountable for their work, there will be blood-curdling screams and temper tantrums enough to fill several Super Nanny episodes.
Let’s also consider the idea that education is a process of evolution, not revolution. The fact that a Fearless Leader could make this statement and get away with it is condemnation enough for our educational system. Only a person totally uneducated in the mechanisms of evolution would be able to make this statement a positive one and given that the Theory of Evolution is a cornerstone of Biology, one must also assume that both the Fearless Leader in question and the entire assembly of teachers would themselves be wholly unable to pass the state Biology EOC test. With the understanding that 99.9% of all evolutionary experiments are now extinct, we must sincerely hope that education is NOT an evolutionary processs!
The need for systemic change in education could not have been made more succinctly than that line from a person widely regarded as literate.