Good People vs. Bad Systems

We are lucky to work in many exceptional educational environments where great school leaders, teachers, and AEA personnel can be found.  Nobody should or can diminish the fact that these individuals come with their very best every day and work tirelessly for the success of all of their students.  They will not stop until all kids are successful. Every single one.  There are most certainly pockets of excellence where some students are learning and thriving at incredibly rigorous levels; paradoxically, it also can’t be denied there are volumes of kids who don’t have this same equitable educational experience…they reside within schools and classrooms on a daily basis that are marginal and failing.  Why is even one student not having their educational needs met accepted?  How can we continue to rely on the heroic efforts of a few, while passively failing students because we can’t fix the system and save them all? 

These students reside within bad educational systems….perhaps a system that has low expectations…perhaps a system that has no vision for excellence….perhaps a system that is focused on external problems rather than individual solutions for kids.  Regardless of which obstacle it might be, the people within the system can’t be expected to work any harder…or be expected to improve the system through pockets random and unrelated excellence.

If a bad system is beating our best people and students are suffering and tragically failing, where should we begin to support system change for schools?

The answer might not be as complicated as you might first think.  The beginning might simply be to stop blaming the people within the school and focus on fixing the system in which the people reside.  

-Karinne Tharaldson Jones