September 21, 2023
“Better is possible. It does not take genius. It takes diligence. It takes moral clarity. It takes ingenuity. And above all, it takes a willingness to try.”
–Atul Gawande (Better)
I hate school improvement.* It’s resource-intensive, polarizing, and it triggers indignation and anxiety in teachers: “You think we’re not working hard enough?” “You’re saying we’ve been doing it wrong all these years?” These negative emotions fuel stern resistance, and in response, school leaders are compelled to provide air-tight proof-points and perform a time consuming period of counseling to reassure the anxious faculty.
But what choice do we have? Most schools and programs were designed for a world that no longer exists. Right now, schools are either intentionally getting better or unintentionally getting worse. The same could be said for many teachers, especially those with long careers.
As educators, we’re in the business of helping young people grow and improve themselves, so why is it so difficult for us to model growth and improvement throughout our own organizations? If we want to prepare students for the changing world they will inhabit, schools must evolve and improve.
School improvement is a powerful magnet: depending on…