- Every student learns from successes and failures. Students will be allowed to fail at tasks so that they may try again and learn from mistakes. Making mistakes is essential to learning.
- Teachers will present essential information to students, but their primary role will be to guide each student as they embrace and hone their strengths and reduce their weaknesses
- Grade configurations are meaningless. We don't use them.
- Parents are the primary educator in their child's life and are expected to embrace that role and become active participants in their child's education.
- We will not give your child gratuitous and meaningless praise and accolades. Only excellence and exceptional achievements will be recognized and honored.
- Mediocrity is not acceptable. Everyone is capable of excellence.
- Truly gifted students will be given the most rigorous education possible. They will be pushed to their limits and more will be expected from them.
- Moral values and good character are essential attributes for all people. Administrators, teachers and students will be held to the highest standards.
- Like Physicians, we will do no harm.
Let's take a look at the abysmal graduation rate in many schools. Does that give you a warm and tingly feeling, too? It makes my stomach hurt.
"The primary reason nearly half of the young adults gave for dropping out was that classes were uninteresting. Another major factor was that the students spent time with people who were uninterested in school. These were among the top reasons selected by students with high GPAs and those who were motivated to work hard.
In general, feeling unmotivated or uninspired to work hard was a significant factor in the drop outs’ discontent with school. In focus groups, the young adults said school was boring, they didn’t learn anything, and school was irrelevant. However, many of these respondents said they would have liked to have been inspired. Further, while a majority said their school’s graduation requirements were difficult, 66 percent said they would have worked harder if more, including higher academic standards and more studying and homework, had been demanded of them to earn a diploma."(Source: Center for Exceptional Children)
Does anyone else see the bigger picture here? I know, from firsthand experience, that we are not going to convince 100% of our students to graduate. Some are simply lazy or come from homes where education is seen as unimportant, or they suffer from a mental illness, drug addiction, etc. I know those kids are out there. But, what if 50% of the kids who dropped out in the last schol year were the respondents in the survey above and they don't suffer from any of the conditions I listed.
It's reported that up to 7,000 students drop out of school Every Day. You read that correctly. That's one student very 26 seconds. If that is accurate, and it should be since it comes from the National Center for Education Statistics, that's around 1.3MILLION students dropping out every year. If 50% of those students drop out because of the reasons listed by the CEC study, isn't that reason enough to completely rethink and transform education?
Don't we owe it to those 650,000 students who were disengaged, unmotivated and uninspired? Remember, too, that these students who dropped out did so because a parent or guardian let them. I'm sure there were a large number of students who didn't drop out but wanted to. They skated through with grades just above failing. Is that a quality education? Is that who you want working with, for or by you?
My point is this, the American educational system has decided to accept mediocrity. Instead, it should be striving for excellence. There is plenty of fault and blame to spread around. It doesn't matter who we blame, what matters is fixing the problem.
Go back and review your school's Mission, Vision and Values statements. Do they promote mediocrity or excellence? What are you going to do about it?