I made the mistake today of going to the online Education section of the New York Times. I haven’t been there for a couple of weeks, as we’ve been full steam ahead with preparations for our school year that opened very successfully this week. I like reading the Times Education section, as most heads of school, I assume, also do.
But looking at the totality of this set of headlines would depress event the greatest education optimist. Teacher strikes and lockouts, schools that are literally crumbling, schools competing against each other for the most luxurious dormitories, policy shifts denying teachers earned compensation – there’s just not any good news in the totality of what was published. Today, in fact, we have 350,000 Chicago public school students who have now been without school for an entire week.
What happened to balance in education? How and when did we cross into a land of extremes? I’m not a journalist but I guess I’m naive enough to think that one can attract more flies (readers like me) with honey (some realistic but positive pieces) than with vinegar (see above).
Schools are life-changing places. Done well, a school is a transformative place. Done poorly, I guess, schools are the kinds of places that breed the current Education section of the New York Times.
Elbert Hubbard once wrote that “A school should not be a preparation for life. A school should be life.” Let’s work to make our schools great places that not only create great results but great stories.
Don Adams, Head of School