For someone who is so positive about kids, you seem pretty negative about the adults they grow…
David Ng

Well put David. The societal and educational elements that maintain the status quo are complex and support the existing models for a wide variety of reasons. In Ontario, for example, one big supporter of the system’s standardized testing model are real estate agents. Why, you may ask? Because it gives them good data to establish/burnish the value of a house – high test scores = good school = good neighbourhood = higher property values. This is just one example of how external interests bolster the current model – and that is just one example and one that isn’t what you would consider a core stakeholder.

Data in general is also a force for sameness. It is hard to convince a school or system to adopt something new when there is little or no data to support its efficacy, or because the data that supports the change isn’t in a format or from a source that the system deems credible. When pilots are allowed to go forward they are often so restricted in scope and timeframe that it is hard to generate traction, build a culture, or show success ( by the system’s definition ).

In my schools, I have tried to work to create tipping points in terms of instruction, student agency, leadership, and culture. This is not a sexy or super fast way of doing things, but the long term stickiness of the change is much better, in my experience. Ultimately, you only get to this kind of point because you have invested in relationships with parents, students, staff, and the community. Relationships build trust and trust cannot be rushed. Whether it is a student, or a teacher, or a parent, listening and paying attention, establishing common goals, and articulating a vision are crucial.

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