Education is Not Broken

Education is not broken.

In fact, our country is graduating students at a higher rate than any other time in history. That percentage continues to climb.

Metrics which measure how our students compare to other countries do not compare apples to apples. Important variables are left unaccounted for.

Unfortunately, we have many on the outside of our walls getting in the way. Too many feel they know more about how to educate students than those who have devoted their lives and careers to that very thing.

We are professionals. We studied education in college. Many of us have advanced degrees. We continue to read, learn, reflect, and try new things in an effort to give our students the best education possible.

Teachers on the front lines continue to be underpaid and under-appreciated. Too many on the outside choose to focus on what (they perceive) we’re doing wrong rather than what we’re doing right.

This is one reason we must stick together. If we do not value and support each other, who will?

Perhaps through our unity we can begin to change the mindset of those who believe our system is broken. It is not. But, the system could brake if those on the outside are able to tear down what walls remain.

Thank you to those who have chosen to remain in education despite all the challenges we face. We need you. We need you on the other side of those walls helping to hold them up.

Doug Dunn is superintendent and principal of a small K-8 school in rural, south central Missouri. He can be found on Twitter at DougDunnEdS.

Embrace the Suck

Over the weekend, I read a brief portion of the beginning of Brene Brown's book, Dare to Lead. One of the fascinating things about leadership is that it's not limited to particular titles. We are all leaders in our own way. Each of us are leaders in our districts, buildings, classrooms, buses, cafeterias, etc. Sometimes this leadership occurs simply through being an example others wish to emulate. 

There were some outstanding quotes that can apply to each of us in some way:
  • What stands in the way becomes the way.
  • When we fix the wrong things for the wrong reasons, the same problems continue to surface.
  • Perfectionism and fear keep people from learning and growing.
  • You can't get to courage without embracing the suck. We must embrace the fear.
  • Care and connection are necessary for leadership.
  • Daring is knowing you will eventually fail....and still being all in.

I had an extra opportunity to reflect on this reading during a Bible class. The teacher was talking about pride and humility - and the impact they can have on relationships. I couldn't help but thinking that, perhaps, the root of our pride could be fear. Fear of failure. Fear of what others may think. Fear of something else altogether. I know that, personally, I need to embrace my fears (and the suck) more often to increase the amount of learning and growing in my own life.

I hope this spurs some reflection for you as it has for me.

Thanks for reading!

Doug Dunn is superintendent and principal of a small K-8 school in rural, south central Missouri. He can be found on Twitter at DougDunnEdS.