Expecting Success

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I had a Twitter conversation with someone and mentioned that public education should take a lesson from professional football. The NFL will fire a coach that produces losses for too long. That person reminded me that football teams are private entities that expect success. The franchise’s profitability relies on the coach’s ability to produce a winning, money-making team. If a coach is not demonstrating the expected level of success, that coach expects to be and will be fired. Publicly.

That tidbit of information was enlightening. As it relates to public education, the system’s own data reveals the organization is a perpetually failing operation. It has been failing for decades. Billions of dollars are pumped into education annually, but the outcomes remain less-than-impressive. The outcomes seem to speak to the organization’s expectations of success. It appears that in the public education arena, there is no expectation of successful performance overall.

There are some schools or districts that are defying the low standards, but I’m talking about public education in its entirety. Why are we okay with the system tasked with teaching our children and preparing them to compete as adults, to remain in a state of failure? Why do we allow billions of our tax dollars to finance illiteracy, low expectations, misplaced priorities, and ignorance of federal education law? Federal and state overseers have been ineffective at identifying and holding accountable education administrators responsible for ensuring academic excellence in our public schools. Why do they still have jobs? Why do we need to funnel billions of dollars into state or federal oversight, to net the lackluster academic outcomes we’ve had for decades?

Perhaps public education has outlived its usefulness. It appears that its failure to evolve into a model of success has been accepted by society. Essentially, public education has become the McDonalds of taxpayer funded operations. When you go, you expect to receive what you came for, but when you don’t get it, you just accept it.  Somewhere in the back of your head, you knew, based on experience, not to be surprised if you didn’t get what you ordered. Despite that repeated failure, you keep going back.

Dr. Teresa Sanders
Dr. Sanders is an international bestselling author, education researcher and student and family advocate in the education setting. Dr. Sanders has presented at international education conferences and is the founder of Safari Small Schools, an innovative micro school in Canton, Texas. Dr. Sanders created Safari Small Schools to meet the needs of learners who aren’t thriving in the traditional classroom. Dr. Sanders can be reached at DrSanders@safarismallschools.com.

The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Chalkboard Review team.

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