As a proud Indiana University graduate, I am sometimes asked to contribute articles to the alumni magazine. In preparation for an upcoming issue on politics, I was asked what government leaders should do to improve education quality. I was still in “Space Camp” mode, so my article took on a “shoot for the moon” theme. Let me know what you think!
Having just returned from International Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama as part of the Teacher of the Year program, space exploration is on my mind. As I experienced unimaginable simulations and listened to the stories of astronauts, I learned how our space program began with a challenge. Innovation ensued, and we soared to the moon. However, if the innovation had not been followed by careful, reflective implementation, the mission would have failed.
In much the same way, our education system has experienced a period of challenges followed by unprecedented innovation. Technological initiatives, teacher accountability systems, Common Core, PARCC, and Balanced Assessment have brought about incredible changes. Now it is time for government leaders to patiently assist in the implementation phase of our shared mission. To improve education quality, teachers need the time and resources to carry out these innovative plans. As we progress through each phase of implementation, government leaders must also be willing to listen, reflect, and adjust the plans. Educators, policy makers, and community members must work together, agree to disagree at times, compromise, and ultimately succeed in our shared vision. If we all diligently work for careful implementation, it will be exhilarating to hear, “mission accomplished!”