Public School Bashing?

Perhaps Oprah Winfrey and Bill Gates would like to come to Randolph? If you didn’t see her show yesterday, it was a general indictment of public education, teachers and administrators in part as a response to the new movie “Waiting for Superman”. I’m naturally sensitive to an assault on public education because I’ve dedicated 21 years of my life to it, to improving it for all of our kids. I’m also sensitive to the pervasive negativity that ignores all of the good work being done every day by teachers, administrators and support staff.

At least 1000 things go right every week for our kids and those things go unnoticed. It’s okay that they go unnoticed because our parents and community SHOULD expect us to do our jobs, take care of our kids and to lead learning for them. Do we need to change the public school system so that kids are learning differently? Absolutely. But that doesn’t mean that all of the hard working teachers who ARE getting it right every day, need to be expunged so that others can do the job better. We can do it better ourselves and we are.

In my experience, teachers give their best each and every day. And when we ask them to do something differently, when we lead them to change the system in ways that give our students the opportunities to learn with passion, innovation and technology. . . they’re right there with us. We’re doing that right now in Randolph, learning will not look the same here three years from now that it does today. BUT that doesn’t mean that what we’re doing now is wrong or bad or harmful. . . our kids are learning and excelling in many ways, they’re positive participants in this entire system of schooling.

Come and see what our teachers are doing with our students, every day. Come and see where we are  teaching kids to communicate,  to problem solve, to analyze and create, to take initiative and to lead.  And where we can do better, we will.

We get that public education is an antiquated system that was designed to sort kids, house them while parents worked factory jobs and prepare the children to comply in that setting. BUT if you think that’s all that we are, you are seriously mistaken.

Jamie Vollmer over at AASA discusses the topic much more eloquently than me, go read Public School Bashing: A Dangerous Game and see what you think.

  1. Robert,

    Before you get too disgusted, you should check your source of information. I just asked the high school principal about the Rumble (which I started when here as principal) and he said that he has asked our Student Council to evaluate and review the Rumble, the assemblies we have the day before major breaks, and the Randolph Red Rewards. No one said it was cancelled. I’m glad to hear it’s important to you.

    We’ve been running the Randolph Rumble programs the same way for many years so it’s a good idea to review them to consider ways of improving them. I’m glad Student Council is doing so and I hope they’ll take the job seriously, considering what all of our students think.

    My personal view? When we started the Randolph Rumble it was a way to involve all students in the school, to help everyone feel a part of RCS. . . that’s why we started by showcasing Post Mortem, a student band. I wanted those kids to get to show who they are and what they’re good at, the students who excel at lots of things but not necessarily athletics. It seems to me that those assemblies have become more and more about a smaller group of kids. . . I’d like to see Student Council figure out ways to involve everyone.

    Mrs. Moritz

  2. Excuse me, Why isn’t Randolph Central hosting the Randolph Rumble this year? I believe this is a greet way to express our school spirit. Do we not have enough money? All of the supplies are there and we should have it. Correct? yes. I am disgusted with the school system.

  3. The people that complain about public schools are the same people that say things like “I never let my child watch TV” when they really mean they told their nannys the kids couldn’t watch TV. It’s elitist crap from people who need attention so they stir things up. Can schools improve? Sure they can, just like any other large complicated organization. Bashing them for 44 minutes on a TV show doesn’t help and isn’t productive.

  4. I so agree with you Janet. I dont even turn Oprah on anymore. She makes my blood boil where she used to inspire me. I went to the link you suggested Kim. The paragraph that really struck me is this: ” it can help the staff—certified and classified—take three simple steps: 1) shift their attention from the negative to the positive, 2) stop bad-mouthing one another in public, and 3) begin to share good news about their schools within their social networks. The payoff is substantial, and the process adds nothing to the existing burden”. I feel the positive change coming, I know our team can get it right, now is the time to really promote the good things that are happening daily in each and every classroom. Not just you, or the administrators, but the staff, the parents and students. I feel that we are all a little tired of only hearing the negative, I know its out there, I know it can’t be ignored, and it isn’t. I just believe that if every day we looked for one good comment, we would be amazed at the difference in just a matter of weeks.

  5. Thanks for taking on Oprah!!! If anyone could do it it would be you!!! I used to respect her opinion but in the past few years she has gotten quite over-bearing in pushing her beliefs onto others. This is one of them. I have read a lot about this movie and its message. I think you have said it all here. We are moving forward, it will take time but the direction that we are going will be highly recognized by our peers. No one likes change, but when it is going to impact our kids in such a positive way who could NOT be behind you. I don’t want to give you too much praise that you go off and take Oprah’s time slot next year but you are going to take us where we need to go!!!!

  6. I was pretty upset after watching the show and could only think of all the exceptional teachers I get to work with and how it is too bad Oprah didn’t focus on them. While I am looking forward to seeing the movie and engaging in dialogue around it – I am worried that this kind of negative attention will only discourage those amazing teachers and create a real problem. Just once I would like to see someone say there is a problem and suggest some solutions instead of pointing fingers. Thanks for your post!

  7. Students are getting more options and chances to further their education then I did in school.
    Oprah is a self righteous pot-stirrer. What does she know about the real world? She doesn’t even have to do her own grocery shopping. She has no children to attend school. And it’s always those without children who claim to know what’s best for them.
    I understand your frustration. It gets me stirred up!

  8. I wanted to call Oprah and tell her to call you because you explain everything so well and are doing an excellent job. Awesome job and I know Bryna is a superb teacher and will only improve.

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