“Gravity makes things fall” Bailey exclaimed.
The mom looked up as she picked up her pen and asked “What’s that?”
“Gravity makes things fall. When you drop your pen, gravity makes things fall” a confident Bailey expressed.
The mom slowly began to rise as did one of her eyebrows, “Yes... yes it does.”
The lady looked at me with an all too familiar face. Why is this 3-year-old telling me about a concept she shouldn’t know?
But each of those things, I taught her. One science concept per month. I choose a topic, explain it in a way a toddler would understand, and we review every morning on the way to daycare.
Yet, to this lady, Bailey’s a Baby Isaac Newton. A prodigy. A child who’s ahead of her developmental capabilities. She knows something that someone her age shouldn’t. I would love to say that it was her siphoning from a superior gene pool that launched her into the next phase of human evolution. But that’s probably a tad less than accurate.
What’s true is that I believed Bailey could learn, so I taught her. In her young life, she’s only been exposed to a mother and father who tell her she’s smart and can learn anything. She just learns… because that’s what humans do. It’s what we’ve always done.
It seems as though the expectations for our children have, over time, dwindled to a fraction of what they should be. We look at the desperate state of our education system and the conversation recedes from visions of college diplomas to prayers for high school completion. Granted, today’s dropout numbers and percentages of college readiness are daunting, to say the least. It’s enough to inspire apathy.
Folks don’t know what to do to help, so instead they just throw up their hands and lower expectations. After all, “What can I do? The problem’s simply too big.”
Actually… there is one thing you can do.
We actually know what works. A ton of things actually work.
Mentoring, tutoring, educational technology, cognition-boosting instructional strategies, strong principal leadership… a ton of things.
But none of these can move from theory to execution without sound board governance that creates an environment for the new superintendent, Mike Miles, to do his thing. Progressive, consistent trustee leadership sets the tone for a district and can pave the way to success for years to come.
Voting for your district’s trustee is that one thing you can do.
But, you only do this if you actually believe our kids can learn. If you haven’t ascribed to the belief that all of a sudden we just stopped having the ability to increase our insight. If you don’t buy that kids from an urban setting have some kind of ceiling on their capacity to grow in an educational setting. If you haven’t placed an artificial cap to their smart. Our lowered expectations for our students are actually just the shadows cast from our failed confidence in a system sorely in need of a makeover.
Good trustees can help that happen. So vote.
Truly, it’s the least you can do.