A name you may not be well aquainted with is Dr. Roland Fryer. He was also one of the speakers at this past weeks Leadercast. You can learn more about him at www.edlabs.harvard.edu – Here is an excerpt from comments last Friday: “True Leadership is about going off-script and blunt conversation. True Leadership is not about change that comes tomorrow or the next day. It is about change that takes time. We have an obligation as leaders to listen to others. We cannot shut out the people we disagree with – that’s not being a leader, that’s being an obstacle. Ultimately a genuine leader is not a searcher of consensus, but a molder of consensus…conscious ask the question, what is right. America spends the 4th most in education ($13k per kid). Our performance is ranked about 20th. Consider that 10% of African American students can read at grade level in Atlanta. In Detroit 3% African American students can do math at grade level (among 8th graders). What we’ve learned from the best charter schools (vs. those who don’t perform nearly as well)
• They spend more time in school (longer school days and longer school years)
• Teachers that have high expectations are the main ingredient in education. They use data to alter the pace of instruction.
• Good schools teach and test kids quickly to check to make sure they are learning what they are supposed to.We need to know in real time where kids are. These schools create high expectations and a create a culture of no excuses. Kids will live down or up to whatever expectations we have for them.”
Here is the point of quoting Fryer, education matters. Politicians may talk about it but do little to really make a difference. Teachers, parents, and communities make a difference. When we demand change we will get it – the trouble is we think it is out of our hands – that the government is in charge. That is why we get in trouble – we have removed personal responsibility from the equation. It is not about more dollars being pumped into a system – it is about citizens demanding that things change. Proverbs 22:6 says, “Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.” We need to remember that children are whole entire persons and not just the “future” – they are the present. We need to care for the body, mind, and spirit of the child.