I think this is a critical guiding question for every educator in New York State right now, particularly those who are facilitating work with the Common Core Learning Standards, APPR, inquiry teams, and assessment design.

If ever there were a time when mindfulness would take a back seat to panic and job satisfaction would be sacrificed to perceptions about imposed mandates, that time would be now.

We run the risk of losing some incredibly talented educators with all of this.

What’s worse is that we run the risk of losing kids too.

If we maintain a singular focus on what needs to be done without thinking deeply and planning thoughtfully about how it happens, I fear we may do some damage here.

How can we Race to the Top in ways that increase job satisfaction?

What if we did more than simply articulate a clear vision for the graduate we hope to produce and the teacher we hope to become?

What if we transformed that ideal into standards or performance indicators of our own?

What if we wrapped them around the Common Core Learning Standards (and our content-specific standards)? What if we aligned to them in ways that ensured we were attending to everything we hope our students will know and be able to do as graduates?

What if we aligned to them in ways that would challenge us to grow our professional expertise? Increase our energy and our enthusiasm for the work we do? Nurture levels of creativity? Promote mindfulness? Improve our confidence and job satisfaction? Standards like those are not articulated here, and that’s okay. That’s not the point or purpose of that document.

We still have the power to move mindfully in these directions.

We aren’t taking anything away. We’re adding some perspective by focusing on the how instead of the what. We’re also expanding our understanding of the why.

I think this matters.

What do you think?





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