Addressed the Chiefs today in DC. Not the team, but the heads of all the states’ departments of education. (Some are “Superintendents,” some are “Secretaries of Education,” and so on, so they’re just collectively called “The Chiefs.” That’s pretty cool.) They were in town for a legislative conference, and I was asked to share with them a teacher's perspective.
I didn’t pull any punches.
But they seemed to enjoy the beating, for the most part. I guess I have a fun way of tearing apart the status quo, which many of them are heavily invested in.
I made an impassioned case for redefining “achievement” to encompass what we know about the complex and varied nature of intelligence. Measuring math and reading scores alone doesn’t do justice to our children or the complex and global world they are growing into and creating.
I told them what teachers across the country would want to tell them: we’re living in a climate of fear, and fear inhibits innovation, great teaching, and effective learning. Something needs to change, and we are now standing at that pivotal crossroads.
“So what are you going to do about it?” I asked on behalf of the 50 million students and 3 million teachers that are seeing these policies played out at the ground level in their very lives.
Bold move? Perhaps. But the Chiefs seemed to take it well. The delivery is nearly as important as the message, I’ve found.
Plus, now I’m on a plane out of the country. That helps, too.