By Tom Loertscher
By Tom Loertscher
I'll bet you've seen the posters around some businesses that come from a website called despair.com. I've rather enjoyed some of the sayings over the years and one that I ran across this last week has to do with what is happening right now in the legislature. The one I am talking about is a picture of a tornado and the title of it is Change. It goes like this. "When the winds of change blow hard enough, the most trivial of things can turn into deadly projectiles." What we are experiencing here with the debate on education is certainly not trivial, but as we know the little details of things seem to become projectiles at some time or other.
We as human beings tend to resist change with everything we have. It may be just because we have some fear of the unknown or that we just have a hard time getting our arms around a new concept. There is a lot of resistance around this place mostly from outside, from various groups that hate to see change occur in the way we educate students. I suppose I'm one of those who likes to be an innovator and I can't blame Superintendent Luna for trying to bring about change. New methods are worth exploring and if all of the dire reports about how we are doing in education in Idaho have any validity, we definitely do need to do something. I'm just not sure that this plan is the something we need to do. Everywhere I went over the weekend I was asked about the "Luna" plan.
At the first of the week we had the young 4-H kids from our area come for the annual Know Your Government conference. It was a pleasure to sit with kids from our area and one of the first things they asked about was the new plan for education. I turned the tables on them and asked what they thought of Superintendent Luna's program. To a person they said that they didn't like the idea and had some concrete reasons why they didn't think it was good. I told him that I thought they were very fortunate to live in the times they do, when they have access to so much information and the ability to learn so much from the resources they have. I asked them if they would be willing to help in the design of the next generation of learning in the classroom. They indicated a willingness to do so. I am impressed with the quality of kids that we have and that they are able to figure out ways of doing things that we in the older generation haven’t dreamed of.
There is one thing that I know for sure and that is that I do not have all the answers. What I would like to see us do at this point is to take a deep breath, step back and try to get buy-in over this next year into programs that teachers, administrators, students, and parents can help implement. I really think that's the only way that education reform can happen with any degree of success.
Several years ago while meeting with teachers, I told them that I would be willing to meet with them anytime to discuss education and some of the problems that they face. That invitation is still extended. All good ideas take time to develop and to implement correctly. We mandate too much from the legislature, demanding things that do not improve education that just cost money. We need to stop mandating and this is the right year to start.