October 2, 2007 § Leave a comment

No…not a projector.

Is it just me, or does it seem like the education world almost always caters to the lowest common denominator?

I wish I could remember who said it, but in Texas, we celebrate – CELEBRATE – kids who pass the TAKS test with the lowest possible passing score. Shouldn’t we be celebrating the kids who get commended scores on that test – the ones who score in the 90th percentile? School districts are judged based on the number of kids who passed. It doesn’t matter if all of your kids passed with a 70, as long as they passed. We celebrate a C.

I’m noticing that professional development works the same way. We work and work to pull up those folks who are below average to try to get them up to speed. Most of the time we pull them kicking and screaming. Why? Why not just tell them, “Get your stuff together or find another job.”

Look around you. Are you the early adopter? Are you the techie on your campus? How much professional development is your district offering YOU? Any? Or are you just expected to go out and find stuff on your own that fits your needs because the professional development in your district is all geared toward the basics for those people who, after almost 30 years of having computers in the classroom, still don’t get it?

And you’ll go out and find it because that’s the kind of person you are, right? You enjoy finding new things to try in your class, but how much more do you think you could learn and find if there was a community of practice out there for you to learn from?

Maybe that’s why there are so many ed tech bloggers out there. We’re forming our own community to teach and learn from each other, since the districts are so preoccupied with teaching the lowest common denominator.

And by the way, how many of those folks in administration are squashing great ideas for collaboration between students because they themselves are part of that lowest common denominator and are afraid of the technology you’re using? Or because they’re too focused on kids passing that test with a C, rather than with an A+?

Is anyone’s district offering professional development for the more advanced user? I know mine isn’t, and I’ll readily admit that I’m part of the problem. Our district needs to do more for those folks too, starting today.


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