In The Students’ Best Interest
I’m not sure I have ever heard a more useless phrase than “In the students; best interest.” If you spend time with educational leaders or policy makers, you most likely hear this phrase several times a week. Too often leaders will use this phrase as justification for why they are making the decision they are. It is almost always to provide justification for why they are making a pretty terrible decision.
I am not suggesting that educational leaders and policy makers should not have the students’ best interests at heart when making decisions, it’s just that the phrase itself is without meaning. Or, to be more precise, because it holds such unique meaning to each person, it has no shared meaning as a phrase.
I suggest we collectively call “Bullshit” the next time someone uses this phrase and we challenge them to describe what they are doing, and why, without that phrase and instead explain what they really think is in the best interest of students.
Using a phrase that represents a universally shared value and simultaneously holds such diverse meaning for all who hear it, seems to be a tactic of deceit. Let’s all demand better of ourselves and of our leaders. We should not have to guess at what they believe the students’ best interests are, they should be making that explicit in their explanation of their thinking.
It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.