Small minority

crowd reflection color toy

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Why should a small minority dictate to the majority what is appropriate and acceptable, or what is not?

Case in point: schools are closed in WA and they are trying to figure out how to go forward as this corona virus thing continues. It was communicated out from OSPI (our state superintendent’s office) that districts couldn’t continue to educate their students if they couldn’t guarantee “equity” for all students it serves. Or, at least, they couldn’t require students to attend because of equity (lack of internet, ELL, SpEd, etc.).

OK, on the surface, that makes sense and it looks great on the PR side of things. However, it doesn’t make sense when you start looking at the numbers. That closer look ends up making the policy a complete “F” in my book.

The closer look:

So, we’re not going to educate 90% of the students because 10% can’t participate because of various challenges?

What if it was 50/50? Is that still too low to continue offering education to those who can participate? You can play with the numbers however you like, but at just about any point you can’t justify depriving a larger group of people from something because of a smaller group. It just doesn’t make any sense.

Do you scuttle the sailboat because there is no wind?

Do you throw out the baby with the bathwater?

Do you cut off your hand because you got a splinter in your little finger?

Do you cut off your foot because you broke a toe?

Do you demolish an entire building because a couple rooms in it aren’t or can’t be occupied?

Catch my drift?

Why do we let small groups of people dictate what happens with the larger groups? Seems a bit backwards, doesn’t it?

Remember the saying, “Greatest good for the greatest number“? Why doesn’t that apply these days? Or any day? How did we get so far away from an idea that mostly works?Sure, I know we have to make sure the “minority” group doesn’t get abused by those who are more powerful or has the most resources, but there is still something true about this thought:

What is the greater good when it comes to educating our students?

 

Sit down and shut up

auditorium benches chairs class

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One thing I know for sure, teaching a class or training people never goes quite as planned. There are always things you can’t account for, even when you have experience and account for things you know will happen – because they always do.

I was a high school teacher for 15 years. One thing I got used to was that students, no matter how engaging the lesson was, never were really invested in what they were learning. I mean who are we kidding, right? Students don’t see how what they are doing now prepares them for something down the road, in the future. They are too focused on today to understand that. So interest in class was always a challenge, no matter the subject.

Now that I am no longer in the classroom, I am teaching at a different level, so to speak. I am teaching adults (teachers and school district employees) about how to use the software they use every day. Now, we are talking about people with different life experiences than students. People who know that what they are being taught will be useful to them immediately, or at the very least in the very near future. YET, they are, in some cases, a worse audience than high school students!

Teachers are a notoriously bad audience. I know because I was one of those bad audience members. But I see it all the time from adults. They sit and have side conversations, text, look at email, grade papers, etc. I even had one teacher watching the World Cup on his computer while at a training class. Yeah, real professional, buddy.

Listen, I get that teachers have a millions of things on their mind and a billion other things to do. I can totally relate! BUT, if you won’t let your students (or at least have the expectation that your students will not) act this way, why do you think it is acceptable to act that way when you’re in class? You’re an adult, for pete’s sake. Have a little more self-control than your 4th graders for crying out loud.

So, SIT DOWN AND SHUT UP!