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Chris Lehmann Headshot

This I Believe

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What are your 10 most core beliefs? What would happen if we all started posting them?

  1. I believe that, in the end, if we were serious about reforming education in this country, we would start with three simple (but expensive) premises:
    1. No classes over 20 in K-8. No classes over 25 in 9-12.
    2. No schools over 600.
    3. Pay teachers a living wage.
  2. I believe that we have the ability to make this happen in this country, but not the political will. And I believe that is a national failure for which we all are responsible.
  3. I believe that basing how much money is spent on a child's education through parental income / property tax is profoundly anti-democratic and undermines us as a nation.
  4. I believe that progressive education works for any number of reasons, but primarily because it dares all stakeholders to care about the work that they do every day. Teachers, students and administrators all can take ownership in the work they do. And I believe that when they do, really powerful stuff happens.
  5. I believe that the average urban teaching contract makes this kind of teaching far harder than it has to be. And I believe that class size and teaching load are the two biggest impediments -- even bigger than salaries.
  6. I believe that, in spite of that, we must find a way to build more progressive institutions in our cities. And I believe we can. But I also believe that we will need reforms beyond the school-based level if we want the movement to be sustainable in the long-term.
  7. I believe that we live in a time where we can help our students learn more, create more and share more than ever before. I believe our students can see the "why" we learn and apply their answers to the world at large.
  8. I believe that for us to be able to change our students' lives, we have to allow them to change our lives as well.
  9. I believe that the first and most powerful rule in teaching is: Care. Care. Care. Care. Care. And when you don't know what else to do, care more.
  10. I believe in my students. I believe in their ability. I believe in their creativity. I believe in their intelligence. I believe in their dedication to the things they believe in. I believe in their energy. I believe in their innocence, even when they try to act more worldly than they are. I believe in their insight. I believe in their ability to overcome obstacles in their lives that would make many of us want to give up. I believe in my students.
What do you believe?