A’s like rain
to help them grow?
If I never try,
I’ll never know.
Minds like seeds
seek the sun.
It’s not enough
what’s been done.
So something new,
alas it’s time.
Give them life
each sprout will climb.
if we give them room,
they’ll stretch, they’ll grow
and each will bloom.
Please pardon the amateur rhyme, but I was inspired this morning. Yesterday, Ray Picicci, an assistant principal at CHS, sent me a link to Sir Ken Robinson’s TED talk “How to Escape Education’s Death Valley,” and I was deeply moved as well as strongly affirmed in my conviction to help change education, especially by his message at the end of his talk, which I have included below. I love Ken Robinson. He is an inspirational genius, and yesterday his message gave new life, new energy to that which feels a fragile sprout at times in this lonely desert of change. Thank you for the water, Mr. Robinson.
Happy Friday, all. Have a great weekend.
“So I think we have to embrace a different metaphor. We have to recognize that [education is] a human system, and there are conditions under which people thrive, and conditions under which they don’t. We are after all organic creatures, and the culture of the school is absolutely essential. Culture is an organic term, isn’t it?
Not far from where I live is a place called Death Valley. Death Valley is the hottest, driest place in America, and nothing grows there. Nothing grows there because it doesn’t rain. Hence, Death Valley. In the winter of 2004, it rained in Death Valley. Seven inches of rain fell over a very short period. And in the spring of 2005, there was a phenomenon. The whole floor of Death Valley was carpeted in flowers for a while. What it proved is this: that Death Valley isn’t dead. It’s dormant. Right beneath the surface are these seeds of possibility waiting for the right conditions to come about, and with organic systems, if the conditions are right, life is inevitable. It happens all the time. You take an area, a school, a district, you change the conditions, give people a different sense of possibility, a different set of expectations, a broader range of opportunities, you cherish and value the relationships between teachers and learners,you offer people the discretion to be creative and to innovate in what they do, and schools that were once bereft spring to life.
Great leaders know that. The real role of leadership in education — and I think it’s true at the national level, the state level, at the school level — is not and should not be command and control. The real role of leadership is climate control, creating a climate of possibility. And if you do that, people will rise to it and achieve things that you completely did not anticipate and couldn’t have expected.
There’s a wonderful quote from Benjamin Franklin. “There are three sorts of people in the world: Those who are immovable, people who don’t get it, or don’t want to do anything about it; there are people who are movable, people who see the need for change and are prepared to listen to it; and there are people who move, people who make things happen.” And if we can encourage more people, that will be a movement. And if the movement is strong enough, that’s, in the best sense of the word, a revolution. And that’s what we need.”
–Sir Ken Robinson, from “How to Escape Education’s Death Valley”
- What Do Parents Really Want? Morning Minutes, May 12, 2016
- Building’s Begun: Morning Minutes, May 16, 2016