I agree with 100% of this post, especially “Write something,” because it is important to communicate with others who struggle to solve the same problems. Our school district has trained us in the implementation of Professional Learning Communities (PLCs). In the PLC meetings I facilitate, we track several sources of data and have set up a data wall to keep our fingers on the academic pulse of our children. Many of the ideas we employ have been inspired by blogs and research articles so I treasure what you said about sharing…”especially if you have a solution that might be generalized or even replicated in other environments.”

Confessions of a Lunch-Pail Headmaster

The fault dear Brutus is not in our stars, but in ourselves.” -Julius Caesar (I, ii, 140-141), William Shakespeare

There are fewer words in the English language which, in combination, cause me more agita than “school reform”. I have been struggling to understand the school reform debate for quite a while now – almost four decades. It pains me to witness the ‘dogfight’ being played out across the country in newspapers, films and in the media as parents, politicians, teachers and educators accuse, complain, and blame.

University of Chicago professor and author Charles M. Payne expresses my frustration concisely and correctly in the title of his recent book on school reform:  So Much Reform, So Little Change: the Persistence of Failure in Urban Schools. We are a ‘nation at risk’, ‘wondering why Johnny can’t read; ‘waiting for superman’; hoping to ‘leave no child behind’.  And still we leave…

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2 thoughts on “Positive Deviance: No More Excuses for Failure – Part I

  1. Audrey, I had the audacity once to tell the person in charge of bilingual education (we have mostly Hispanics) that the program does not work well and should be substituted by total immersion strategies for one year. Ouch! I had just stepped on her paycheck and she let me know that I was totally wrong in no uncertain terms. Change? What change?

    1. SIOP (Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol) is the means by which we offer ELL students in our district full language immersion. The problem is that not everyone in our district has been trained to use it. As of right now, it is voluntary, but as our immigrant population continues to grow and the ELL subgroup becomes a factor to measure our AYP (Adequate Yearly Progress) I believe more principals will call on our district’s SIOP coach. She is excellent because she conveys the fact that SIOP not only benefits ELLs, it makes academic language more accessible to all students (many of whom live in families and neighborhoods that do not use SAE – Standard American English). And she has the audacity to point out few students live in homes where SAE is the norm, so it is up to the teachers to teach it. I agree with full immersion; all teachers need to be trained to make that work.

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