Wednesday’s events that unfolded at the US Capitol are a stark reminder that democracy is difficult to attain and maintain.
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union...if the over 330 million of us believe in those first few words of the Preamble then we have some work to do to get a more perfect union.
Change is not some big force that comes out of nowhere, a seismic, earth-shaking ordeal. Change is part of our DNA – we exist as moving and ever-evolving humans. Remember that we each possess within ourselves, the power to transform our lives and of those around us.
WE the People are a multicultural band of brothers and sisters who are more alike than different. If WE are to form a more perfect Union, we have to be responsible for that formation. Those in leadership positions can’t do it for us. WE have to look in the faces of our students and parents who have had a different experience, cross the street to our neighbors who may not look like us, pray like us, or speak the same language. When we see injustice or problems that need solving, only WE the People can address and solve them. As Margaret Mead so famously said, “never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has”.
So yes, Wednesday was a horrible day in US history but we have brighter days ahead.
I am encouraged by the millions of Americans who have been standing in solidarity with Black people as they march/protest for the eradication of hate. Hate and its effects - racism-- are observed and learned behaviors.
It's not enough to post positive messages on your social media feeds, it’s not enough to attend a march for a day, it’s not enough to feel outraged after reading racist and violence inducing tweets by our President.
Policy changes in the 1890s, 1950s and 60s didn't eradicate hate nor its effects. We still have housing discrimination such that White and BIPOC live in mostly segregated communities from each other. We still have education discrimination such that White and BICOC attend segregated schools that are funded to exacerbate the differences between the haves and have nots. We still have corporations/workplaces/career fields where White and BIPOC work segregated from each other.
Policies alone won't change hearts, minds and souls. Racism is in the air, hearts and minds of many Americans.
HCG has always been and will continue to be a champion for civil rights in education.
We will continue to demand for hiring and retaining teachers, leaders and staff who are highly skilled, diverse and not racists.
We will continue to demand for colleges of education to provide culturally responsive teacher prep and leadership prep programs.
We will continue to demand that if school boards must exist that they be comprised of members of the community committed to eradicating racism.
We will continue to demand that schools engage in multicultural education.
We will continue to demand that schools stop policing the lives of BICOC.
Doing what we've always done will give us the same results. We are at a presuppose where something new must take hold. Rather than expecting Black Americans to champion and bear the burden of eradicating racism. Racism can only be eradicated by the people who cling to it like a baby to its bottle.
A few years ago, I wrote two blogs, both focused on solving this problem we call American K-12 public education. HCG is an organization that is solely focused on the development and support of school and district leaders. Our many decades of work have made it clear to us that leadership preparation needs an overhaul. We can’t keep trying to PD our way to increased academic and social-emotional student achievement. The problems in student achievement are complex and complicated and interconnected with race, class, gender, disability, language, workforce, and housing to name a few. The school door should not be the center of solving society ills but what schools and districts can solve are how teachers and leaders address the linguistic, cognitive and emotional challenges that impede academic success.
As school districts around the country struggle to implement variations of distance learning during the COVID-19 pandemic, now more than ever, the public is seeing what those of us who have worked in public education have known for decades, the traditional brick and mortar schools are not providing the high quality education for ALL students, especially disenfranchised students. So, now what?
Over 10 years of research is clear, Principals’ leadership is a critical factor in schools’ success, and school leader preparation programs play a key role in facilitating that success. Excellent school leadership is essential to school quality, educator satisfaction, and teacher effectiveness.
Will this pandemic afford us the opportunity to hit a reset button or hit the nuclear option and outline specific strategies and resources that support the growth of a strong pipeline of principals and leaders who are able to lead teaching and learning in today’s post-COVID-19 schools?
Carla Hulce is the Principal member of HCG.
MISSION CONTROL, WE HAVE LIFT OFF!!!!
What do you get when you collide 150 middle school students, an MIT astrophysicist, 3D exoplanetary simulations and real-time NASA data??? You get an innovative and creative science learning experience, called vMAX (Virtual Missions and Exoplanets).
vMAX is a collaborate immersion of science focused hands-on and minds-on learning experiences. Students are introduced to the ever changing world of planetary science, by utilizing NASA real world application data, daily interactive lectures by leading scientist in the field and incorporating virtual technology. All in hopes of creating the next generation of STEM professionals.
Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science was the place to be this summer as middle school boys and girls from around Miami-Dade Florida, meet for a jammed packed week of Exoplanetary FUN! This unique summer science program was also conducted at several other locations simultaneously across the country (Chabot Space and Science Center in Oakland, CA; United States Space and Rocket Center in Hunstville, AL; Sci-Port Discovery Center in Shreveport, LA; New York Hall of Science in Corona, NY), creating a dynamic cross-sharing of ideas and experiences for its participants.
Phyllis Carey is an international atmospheric and earth science expert. She is currently leading the vMAX and GROOVE programs at the Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science in Miami, Florida. Phyllis studied Meteorology at the University of Northern Colorado.
Let’s Make American Schools Great Again!
No, I’m not going to write about that guy running for President. I am going to write about the canard we’ve been telling ourselves. The falsehood goes a little something like this: Back in the day, I guess when Dewey was around, American schools were great. We reminisce about how great our primary school days were. We talk about our favorite teacher (mine was Mrs. Veum at Beye Elementary School in Oak Park, IL) and how said teacher evoked a love of learning. The truth is, “back in the day” American schools excluded people of color from its curriculum. It segregated students of color, excluded children with disabilities, allowed millions of children to drop out, and had different expectations for women because they weren’t going into the workforce. “Back in the day” academic achievement measures were introduced indicating American children were no smarter than 5th graders.
Here is where I go all Education-ese. I do love acronyms, so bear with me…
ESEA, IDEA, NCLB, and now ESSA were attempts to ensure American children were smarter than a 5th grader. I do believe these legislations had ambitious or “righteous” goals; but, each Legislation failed to produce the academic results we were hoping for. We assumed mandating tests and threatening with public humiliation would lead to miraculous academic achievement, but Legislation alongside mandates and threats have led to States and School Districts grasping at every literacy, numeracy, and social-emotional initiative under the sun by means of superficial random acts of professional development. Why do we keep finger pointing and placing blame at the “end” of the pipeline-- at students and teachers in the classrooms?
Here is my supplication to make American Schools Great Now!
We “cannot” continue to PD* our way out of a teaching and learning crisis, but rather take a deep dive into analyzing the root cause(s) for the reasons K-12 public education is broken. My research and analysis indicate the teaching and learning crisis in K-12 public education is a result of not having established and enforced “National Standards” for the practice of teaching and leading. I’m talking about National Standards that set rigorous requirements to be a teacher and leader that don’t include alternatives or short cuts to certification. Additionally, “Colleges of Education” whose professors, many of whom have never taught, led, or turned around a public school, design degree programs that perpetuate race, class and culture divides. These degree programs are not aligned with current K-12 standards and assessments, and they lack job-embedded internships/practicums that could address these voids. I could make a trite comparison to the medical and legal professions, but you all are familiar with that argument.
ESSA** is in its early stages of implementation and we have the opportunity to shift the dialogue from more Legislation, mandates, and PD to addressing the real issues and root causes of the teaching and learning crisis. Are you with me? Let’s Make American Schools Great Now.
*PD = Professional Development. Facilitated learning opportunities including credentials such as academic degrees to formal coursework, conferences and informal learning opportunities situated in practice.
** ESSA = Every Student Succeeds Act. which is the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) of 1965, last reauthorized in 2001 as the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act. The new law P.L. 114-95, enacted by Congress and signed by President Obama, addresses state education accountability, student testing requirements, intervention in low-performing schools, teacher evaluation, and grant reauthorization and requirements.