It’s crazy to think about this, but the more and more that I work with teachers, the more burned out it seems they are. And it’s only October! My wife told me that a new teacher cries almost every night because he feels defeated every day and the effort put into the profession, just isn’t good enough. That doesn’t seem right to me….a first year teacher with all of the energy and optimism feeling like he can’t do anything right. Let’s go down the other road: 10 – 20 year veteran teachers just sick and tired of all the regulations. You have to teach 90 minutes of writing….80 minutes of reading…another 90 minutes of Math. And then maybe, just maybe you can squeeze in 15 minutes of Science and Social Studies. The problem is creativity is being drained. The love for teaching is being sucked out by assessing, assessing, testing, meeting, data, and more data. Data can be useful….but currently it is overkill! The solution? Take a good look at the Big Picture! (Where have I heard that before?) And what is that big picture? What is America supposed to be? In my mind a place where the individual has the opportunity to become whatever they want to become provided they put it in the time and effort and maybe even a little luck to succeed. Education is just like the NFL. Some people make it, others don’t. Some get injured and have to find another job. Students have to compete for their education. Students have to make up their mind to be motivated to do their homework, to read 20 minutes a night, to want to be the best in the classroom. Those who do, will succeed, those who don’t probably won’t. But that has nothing to do with a teachers ability. It’s time to take the pressure off the teacher and refocus that pressure back on the student. Thinking about pay for performance…try paying a student to perform, if that doesn’t motivate them, then they probably don’t care about being educated.