This from Michelle Rhee, the new chancellor of D.C. Schools...
"She says things most superintendents would not. "The thing that kills me about education is that it's so touchy-feely," she tells me one afternoon in her office. Then she raises her chin and does what I come to recognize as her standard imitation of people she doesn't respect. Sometimes she uses this voice to imitate teachers; other times, politicians or parents. Never students. "People say, 'Well, you know, test scores don't take into account creativity and the love of learning,'" she says with a drippy, grating voice, lowering her eyelids halfway. Then she snaps back to herself. "I'm like, 'You know what? I don't give a crap.' Don't get me wrong. Creativity is good and whatever. But if the children don't know how to read, I don't care how creative you are. You're not doing your job."
Source: Time Magazine
In education, we do need people who can make hard choices....But, more importantly, we need leaders who have taken their place in the classroom and been EFFECTIVE! Unless you have been in the trenches, you don't know how to handle the struggles in education. Thinking that creativity and "Touchy Feely" people have no place in the classroom gives me the impression that Ms. Rhee has not been in a classroom and/or was not effective in it.
Well, I am going to say it right here.... I am one of those "touchy feely" people who tries to teach kids that they can be whomever they want to be--if they work for it. I think you could survey kids in my room and they would KNOW I care about them and I want what is best for them. If I had to guess, I would say that many kids love me and most kids I know respect me....and most all of them, learn from me. SO, touchy/feely and learning are not mutually exclusive.
Creativity will get us to the promised land in education! We need to be done educating kids to punch clocks....we need to get them to THINK and come up with creative answers to the problems ahead of us. Thank goodness for amazing people like Peter Reynolds and Sylvia Martinez and others leaders in education who keep us heading in the RIGHT direction!!!!
So, when I fly into D.C. this summer, I pray to be met by wonderful people who create amazing things. I know I will be able to be in the presence of teachers and leaders like me who are touchy-feely in all the right ways! WE KNOW that the kids will learn more from a caring adult....and we will lead those amazing children in our classes to a brighter tomorrow.