Saturday, March 18, 2006


Jeff Utecht has a post comparing the issues we are facing in education today with Fiddler on the Roof:

This past weekend I had the pleasure of watching a high school performance of Fiddler on the Roof. If you are unfamiliar with the play it is basically about a little village having to deal with changing times, and one man’s struggle of overcoming his traditional ways as his children grow up and break traditions of how and who they marry.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the play and how it relates to where we are in education . . .

It’s worth 6-8 minutes to read the whole thing.

I think we are struggling at AHS with many of the same ideas. We have a reputation as a good school, with “traditions” that have served us well. Yet, as I said when we met with the Superintendent and his Cabinet, I’m not sure we’re a great school (I asked Ron to stop listening for a moment just before I said that!). We need to find a way to go from good to great. A way to hold on to some of our traditions that are still serving us well, but let go of others that just don’t cut it anymore. Not only is change occurring, but the pace of change is itself increasing. Yet we seem to be stuck in the same old linear way of thinking about things – methodically going from step one to step two to step three. I think what we really need to do is go directly from step one to step eight.

I’m not talking about just trying any old thing for the sake of change. Nor am I advocating that we don’t think it through and make sure something new makes sense before abandoning things that have worked (or at least appeared to work) previously. But I am saying that if we take too long to get to step eight, then by the time we get there it will be too late – we’ll need to be at step sixteen. Our students only get four years at AHS - we can’t afford to be too late.

1 comment:

  1. What you seem to be advocating is that we conduct a type of change "immersion". What I mean by that is taking a full leap into the reform that we are discussing. I know that the first step can be the hard one when it comes to change but we owe it to the kids to try it. I know that there are times when we need to take a step back after going forward but that seems to be better than thinking about the step for a long time. The fact that we have done things good so far is good but I agree that we can do some things better. I am not sure what this looks like but I am more willing to take the step and see an error then to wait and miss the steps. I think that what we are doing at AHS is a great starting point and I know that the discussions that we have are leading to some serious change. I know that the kids feel something is happening. I also think that we are past step one (some of us) and are looking at step eight with trepidation or perhaps that is just me fearing the loss of a security blanket.