Dirty Little Secret in Education

February 28, 2010 at 6:55 pm Leave a comment

I attended the monthly ESSDACK Curriculum Director’s meeting this morning and was quite moved by an analogy shared by Richard Soash. (He credits Jane Stuart with recognizing the analogy to education.)  Richard referenced a scene from the movie, “Flags of our Fathers” in which a man falls overboard as the ships sail from the U.S.  The crew on deck frantically rush around trying to save the man by throwing him a lifeline.  The rope is too short and fails to reach the overboard man.  For a moment the crew speculates whether or not the ships that are trailing them will pick the fallen man up.  To their dismay, they come to the conclusion, he is just lost at sea.  I wish I could find a clip for this portion of the movie, but unfortunately, it is not one of the clips shared on the official movie website.

Nonetheless, this spurred a conversation about the reality of education today.  Despite the “No Child Left Behind” legislation, the truth be told, there are countless children who continue to be left behind,  waiting for the right life preserver every day.  As we pondered the reasons, we continue to fail to meet the needs of every child, we voiced the unthinkable.  The dirty little secret is that not every educator TRULY believes it is possible to educate all children at high levels.  Some will even tell you that, but most won’t.

Those who don’t believe it is possible to educate all children at high levels often deflect the responsibility by asking something to the effect of, ” But, what if you throw a life preserver and the student won’t grab onto it?”  I can tell you this for sure.  If that is my child bobbling in the ocean and they fail to grab onto the life preserver you threw, you darn sure better throw them another one and another one and another one etc.  The problem is, you can’t just keep throwing the same life preserver.  If the rope wasn’t long enough to reach the child the first time, it certainly isn’t going to reach them when the ship continues sailing away.  While most students may have been able to grab onto the life preserver you first threw, a few students may need a different preserver (intervention.)  I think this is at the heart of the Kansas Multi-Tiered System of Support.


Entry filed under: Education. Tags: , , , , .

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