Sunday, August 14, 2011

It's about the kids

One of my favorite phrases by educators, principals, and reformers is the classic "it's about the kids." The reason it's a choice phrase is because it covers all manners of sins. Hit the jump to read which sins it covers and how to absolve them. Ha. See what I did there?

I have found that folks who work in education when they have to make a difficult decision that might be viewed as unpopular or hold tight to status quo, are very quick to say, "Hey, I'm making this decision for the kids." It's a gotcha move because how does the other side respond? Often, people will capitulate or hem and haw trying to navigate around that phrase. So people say it as quickly as possible in order to leverage a position that shows they "care."

I think folks need to really look at who they are serving when they make decisions and then be clear with those it impacts. Trying to mask or pass the buck onto someone else really makes communication opaque. If you are clear with folks about why you're doing what you're doing, you not only get people on board with your vision faster, but you're able to really address the issue you're tackling. So I'm just simply saying, that before we say something is "for the kids," let's really look at what we want to say and then simply say it. Deal?


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  2. The jump wasn't necessary, since it was ll on the front page.

    The problem with transparency in communication is that too often, that would show that the person making a decision "for the kids" is actually trying to shave the bottom line, look good even though their ideas are asinine, or screw someone else over. Opacity is to their advantage, so they'll continue to use it. And yes, I woke up on the bitter side of the bed this morning.

  3. true that. I fixed it, so now you have to jump jump. So true on the opacity - what a succinct way to put it. If people are just honest with their motivations, then I think we can actually address the lowering standards in education and start raising them up again.