Mistakes: Learn from… or repeat them?

“Why would anybody purposely repeat the mistakes of the past?” This statement was posed by Neil O’Brien, president of the state Council of School Superintendents, during a recent summit in Albany regarding the latest Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR) changes. “We have tried this before, setting arbitrary and unworkable deadlines and implementation with threats of losing state aid.”  O’Brien was referring to the rushed deadline that is being imposed on NYS school districts to revise their APPR plans to align to more emphasis on student test scores as a major indicator of teacher effectiveness. As it stands today, districts must install the new measures for teacher evaluation by June 30, 2015.  Districts could lose state aid if they don’t meet the deadline.   It makes one wonder, is that a threat… or a promise?

O’Brien’s quote is from the following article. Read it if you want to hear more stakeholder’s opinions of the recent summit that was held in Albany by the Board of Regents. http://www.lohud.com/story/news/education/2015/05/07/teacher-evaluations-draft/70960090/

This sentiment is a thought currently flowing through many educators’ and community members’ minds.   Why are we rushing legislation through the state government without allowing input from all stakeholders?  Why are we tying state aid and funding that school districts desperately rely on to this agenda?  Why would we repeat the mistakes of the past?  We teach students that mistakes are made to learn from.  Carol Dweck’s even advocates for making mistakes in her recent book Mindset, because we internalize the process of recovering from the mistake and become smarter through doing so.   This brief video (Growing Your Mind) from Khan Academy also supports this idea of becoming stronger through struggle and thus advocating for learning from mistakes. www.https://youtu.be/WtKJrB5rOKs

So when will we begin learning from our own mistakes?  When will we begin using best practices to focus on bettering our education system and educators in the system?  When will be begin to focus on and replicate the many bright spots in NYS education rather than seeking out and governing the dimly lit, exhausted corners?


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