A friend recently told me about something that grabbed my attention. And made a great deal of sense.
She called it “initiative overload.” Meaning that we bombard educators with first this initiative and then that one. The poor folks in classrooms and who runs schools can’t catch their breath or really digest something before here comes the next “latest and greatest” something or other.
When Tommy Bice was state superintendent he came up with Vision 2020. It was well-done and carefully thought through and promoted all over the state. But then he up and left his job and here came the walking disaster named Mike Sentance to run the show for a year.
Sure enough, he put out his own version of a strategic plan. However, it was not well-done and was more a wish list than something setting goals and objectives. And sure enough the man from Massachusetts launched his own road show to let educators across Alabama see what wisdom he had conjured up.
Here is the report national board certified teacher Leslie Hughes of Pell City did after suffering though one of these sessions. Needless to say, she was not impressed.
Which brings us to the state school board meeting on Nov. 8 when new state superintendent Eric Mackey announced (DRUM ROLL PLEASE) that a new state strategic plan is in the works.
Initiative overload was my immediate reaction upon hearing this news.
If someone changed wives as often as we unfurl state strategic plans, they would be the center of gossip every time three or more people in town gathered.
Enough already. Can we just give teachers and principals a break? Can we let them do their jobs working with children? Besides, anyone with much experience at all will pay scant attention to another fancy report concocted by folks in Montgomery. I am in schools all the time. I have yet to have a principal or teacher ask me breathlessly, “When will we get a new strategic plan because I just can’t wait?”
Education occurs in a classroom when a teacher and a student interact. That is the sole purpose of schools. Anything that detracts or interferes with that mission is virtually meaningless.
And initiative overload is a distraction.