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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

What is your role and what do you do for my child in your district?

This post is gonna hurt some feelings... I'm sorry friends, but we can do better...

It is time to bring back a little bit of old school, "WHAT THE WHAT" in regards to our funding and uses of these funds in school. This is why I shared this old post about choosing people or tools. It seems like a pretty simple option to offer or build upon. 

What would happen if we released the control aspect of our IT teams and instead invested into teaching them or asking them to build next iterations of the same tools we currently find ourselves beholden to. I keep reading about IT and curriculum leadership, leveraging the power of technology through google apps and chromebooks...

Really?

I am having a really hard time celebrating the "successes" of so many "stick in the mud" leadership teams and supports pontificating their latest adoption or initiative. Unless you have been asleep the past ten years;  what is happening now with access, inquiry, collaboration, publishing is years delayed and still a "diet" version of what we know we need and what we know will TRULY support inquiry, reflection, and iteration.

We have to be better and more accountable than that, right? There has been at a minimum; three years of fixed mindset or job rationalization as pilots, small tests, and other doomed to fail half assed attempts at change have dissipated. We are just now realizing the power of google apps and chromebooks?
Conveniently after WASTING, yes WASTING, millions of dollars on static solutions anchored to misdirected initiatives and philosophies. I wonder how many millions is spent across the country on CCSS alignment and resource collection when... ahem... EVERYONE ELSE IS DOING NEARLY THE EXACT SAME THING.

If my child was building and aligning the exact same thing that another student in her class was doing, I would be so frustrated. Yet, we have adults making top teacher salaries literally building the EXACT same thing as their colleague across town or across the country.

It's been interesting watching IT departments in Education institutions scramble to find their "role" in this cloud centric solution. This usually means spending a lot of money on tools that at one time, they would have or were hired to build or solve. Now, we have empowered the "experts" so that they can spend the tax or grant money, take it directly away from classrooms, and then listen with a smile as these same folks call themselves "managers" or SMEs to this private, money making, school and teacher fund ciphoning, disconnected for profit tool or idea. I am so over these school and district  contracts that suck money away from classrooms and rationalize multiple positions and/or roles, so that we can "analyze" or "make sense of the data" to "help kids"

Come on now.

We can and MUST be better than this friends. Follow your school or district's funding from source to output or as we love to call them now, "stakeholder. "I have a lot of friends in IT. I love them. All of them. But they are wasting their time. Time in meetings about product X designed to do Y. Or, in "brainstorming sessions" to spoon feed company X on why and how they need to better deliver Y.

I have always been a huge proponent of investing in people and not tools. http://mwacker.blogspot.com/2010/06/what-are-you-investing-in-people-or.html

Look around your district this week. Look at the top heavy, nepotism safe, distracted vision and roles from two key departments;  curriculum and instruction and IT. How much of this bloat, could reimagine and invigorate your child's classroom tomorrow?

Full disclosure, I have a lot of friends that are not going to like this out loud post... If that is you, I'm sorry.  Let's brainstorm ways to make your role truly child centric and productive, while also building on your own skills and talents. Because, "managing a tool",  or "aligning your curriculum to common core", and other hidden non-jobs is driving me batty.

My baseline starting point...

Empower our teachers with the tools, bandwidth, and space they need.

Get in to a school ASAP and work with teachers, kids, admin, support staff and publish your own ideas and learning from each day out loud.

Loosely or as a project; audit your school and/or district funding

My hope is after you read this you will be motivated to invest in the core tenets of change. Or perhaps you will be motivated after looking at this critically and possibly in a mirror and say, "we could do better for our children"

I'm tired. I'm disheartened. I hope I am not alone...
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