The End of Average

Reading The End of Average by Todd Rose, a fascinating book that argues that standards and standardized assessments are radically outdated.

“Contemporary pundits, politicians, and activists continually suggest that our educational system is broken, when in reality the opposite is true. Over the past century, we have perfected our educational system so that it runs like a well-oiled Taylorist machine, squeezing out every possible drop of efficiency in the service of the goal its architecture was originally designed to fulfill: efficiently ranking students in order to assign them to their proper place in society… (p. 56)

How can a society predicated on the conviction that individuals can only be evaluated in reference to the average ever create the conditions for understanding and harnessing individuality? (p. 58)

… but once you free yourself from averagarian thinking, what previously seemed impossible will start to become intuitive, and then obvious.” (p. 72)

Leading in Complex Times

Spent the past three days overlooking Independence Hall in Philadelphia with an incredible group of leaders working on techniques to support change. What an appropriate site—a place where divergent thinkers gathered to imagine the possibility of self-governance.

The weather matched our agendas: on Monday, it snowed heavily, just as we were blanketed with new information and learning. On Tuesday, the snow gave way to torrential rain and high winds, as we wrestled to process techniques and approaches. For our final session today, the sun arrived and bathed our group with a warm glow, in time to send us out to do the important work of organizational and systemic change. 

Reflections on Teacher Leadership Summit

Spent the weekend at the Teacher Leadership summit in NJ … intensive and thought-provoking sessions filled with meaningful conversation.

My reflections:

  • teacher leadership is a worthy goal that has potential to positively impact student learning experiences
  • it will be challenging to cultivate teacher leaders without significant collegial collaboration

My concerns:

  • leadership is a mindset, not a job description
  • law, regulations, and policy do not cultivate the necessary mindset

Follow TeachLeadNJ progress here.

Rethinking Teacher Leadership

Just finished the first night at the NJ Teacher Leadership Summit. Setting the right tone immediately: to reimagine the role of teacher leadership, we must be willing to depart from traditional approaches. Tomorrow we’ll spend the day hosting conversations that matter in that middle ground between chaos and order and see what emerges. Follow along on the TeachLeadNJ blog.