Thursday, June 14, 2012

Starr vs. Weast: The line in the sand

Joshua Starr, the new superintendent of Montgomery County Public Schools, seems to get it.     From the Gazette:
I’m struck by how outcomes-based the organization has been — and I am a believer in outcomes. You have to be accountable and responsible for outcomes. I learned after a few months that there was an orientation toward: Get the result. The shift that I am trying to make is to have the conversation about how we are getting the result. I still expect the result. In fact, I want a better result. ... So it goes back to how do we do it. ... If we orient ourselves to what do we do every day... to make sure that our kids are fully engaged in high quality instruction, what does that mean with our daily work, with teachers, with principals, with kids? And that is the change. I am not big into initiatives. I am not big into naming things and rolling out the banner and saying here is the big thing we are going to do now. It just doesn’t work. What works is having great instructional leaders leading in every building, having good curriculum and professional development and helping teachers and other folks in the system get better at what they do every day with the kids. That is what works...
This is the ideology behind real progress.   Almost makes me wish I still taught in Montgomery County.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Why we lie

Dan Ariely's new book, The Honest Truth About Dishonesty, is on its way out and it is one that all those interested in public policy should consider reading.    "Little lies" bombard us from both sides of the political isle, impeding the pursuit of truth, and in turn, progress.   Dan Ariely considers why most of us lie- at least just a little.   He gives a glimpse into his book in a Wall Street Journal article that is worth a read.