Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Dis-rupt-ive

Last week Ray McNulty helped QISA inaugurate a series of ACTION Center webinars, which we will be hosting about once a month on a wide range of educational topics. In his presentation, "The New Normal in Education: Vision for a New Learner" (which you can view by clicking on the link), he made many excellent points. However, one thing Ray said really stuck with me, perhaps because I was fresh from example of it.

He said, "Are you going to be the disruptor, or are you going to be the disrupted?" He went on to talk about how many people working in schools today feel disrupted - by the common core, by the standards movement, by new teacher evaluation systems, by state mandates, the list goes on. Rather than that, he encouraged, we should be the disruptors. His point was that we can't wait around for policies to change, but rather that we must change our practice. When that changed practice is followed by positive results, ultimately policy will change in response. He called this "Disruptive Innovation."

I had just come from a meeting with a principal in one of our schools who had twice tried to bring students to a School Improvement Plan meeting, only to be rebuffed by central office personnel indicating, "We're not ready for that." This is a central office that wants us to be there, wants us to raise the level of student voice, has given My Voice surveys for several years and has had us conduct My Voice focus groups in four of its high schools. Yet despite this, they seem unprepared for the disruption of students sitting at the table where meaningful decisions are made. But isn't that the point?

Would your school be ready for student voice to break into all the meaningful conversations?

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