What is the purpose of your public school?

Does your district have a shared vision:

For high outcomes for all students?

For the role of technology in the educational process?

For the learning rights of each and every student you serve?

Margaret J. Wheatley in her book, Finding Our Way: Leadership For an Uncertain Time, 2005 Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc. on pages 103 & 104 writes:

“How many members of a geographically determined school district share the same beliefs about the purpose of education? Most districts contain a wide spectrum of beliefs about the role of education.

There are those who believe that education should support the talented elite, which includes their child.

Those who view education as the foundation of a pluralistic society where education should open doors for all.

Those who believe in a rich life of the mind.

Those who want their children trained for immediate employment.

Those who want their children taught only the values of their parents or church.

The startling conclusion is that most school systems aren’t systems.  They are only boundary lines drawn by somebody, somewhere.

They are not systems because they do not arise from a core of shared beliefs about the purpose of public education. In the absence of shared beliefs and desires, people are not motivated to seek out one another and develop relationships.  Instead, they inhabit the same organizational and community space without weaving together mutually sustaining relationships.  They coexist by defining clear boundaries, creating respectful and disrespectful distances, developing self-protective behaviors, and using power politics to get what they want.”

Wheatley challenges us all to engage in the work of developing shared beliefs about the purpose of public education.  All the students we serve will benefit from each district and each building within the district being clear about the work of the school.

Image from Flutterbright via flickr


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