Recently, I attended a retirement for a colleague of mine who is a Superintendent of Schools in an affluent district. He claimed he was tired, tired of everyone. Then he quantified the statement by saying, "I am tired of people who haven't been in the kitchen telling me how to cook."
Last month, I have been thinking about this line over and over again and have come to very interesting conclusions:
1- I have never been in a courtroom and heard someone say to his or her lawyer, "This is how I want you to defend me". Nor I have seen this happen on TV shows that seem to take up a lot of the programming these days.
2- I personally have never said to a plumber who was repairing my house, "Hey, I saw this being done on HGTV and you should do it this way".
3- I have never seen anyone at a restaurant walk into a kitchen and say to the chef, "This is how you should prepare my meal".
However, I have seen everyone give their opinion how to teach, or better yet fix education. I consider myself a somewhat intelligent man, never a genius, but a hard working individual. I attended public school, went on to a respectable university, and then continued with two masters degrees. But I have to bow to people who are in the trenches with me everyday. These are the teachers and administrators who understand what is going on.
No matter where I have worked in all of the districts, very low income to very affluent, a day doesn't go by that I hear or read or listen to someone telling me what I should do. In education, we even see government mandates come about without any regard to what is really happening. As I continue to draw from my previous career in business, I think back to never when someone would tell me this is how you should perform your job. In fact, I seriously doubt that people tell employees of Apple, Microsoft or even GE this is how you should conduct your business. Isn't it ironic that in our society when we continually want more from our educational institutions, we treat them so poorly they have no chance of reforming? It is as though everyone went to school; therefore, everyone is an expert. On a slight tangent, what is an expert anyway? People are writing books, making movies, giving lectures and even making donations with one purpose -- to push an agenda that sometimes does not even include our customers, the children.
Maybe we can start to think about where our money is going, who it is going to, and what is being done with it. Stop letting the people who do not work everyday with the students in our schools tell us what needs to be done. This is a dangerous cycle that we have allowed and have to stop!