The abyss of public education…

The abyss of public education…

It’s ironic when you first think of public education, what immediately comes to mind is a progressive experience. And then reality quickly snaps you out of what should be to what actually is…a system full of promise, but often myopic in its approaches to problem resolution.

Managing public education successfully in the United States is a complex, juggernaut experience fraught with all sorts of inconsistencies. The abyss between policy and practice, however, is perhaps the Achilles’ heel of our nation’s public educational system.

I think the saying goes…”the road to hell is paved with good intentions….” as evidenced by those developing policies to bridge that abyss, all addressing an assortment of challenges such as achievement gap, teacher professional development, charter schools, 21st century skills, etc.

In spite of the challenges, educational reform in public schools should be about continual growth and development with the primary goal of widening access to quality education and educational opportunity.

Yet, what has been missing from the ed reform implementation equation is the “substantive” inclusion of digital and information literacy skills, a key bridge piling needed to secure public education’s transformation as a progressive force in the decades ahead. Read various ed reform legislation and proposals and you find all sorts of mention of 21st century skills, but then go into the field and it’s another, often sad story. Resources may be limited, but brains are not.

Although this “Google” generation of students appears to be mini technocrats, the reality is that their ability to use digital/information literacy skills within the context of their learning experiences and use the obtained information effectively is woefully lacking. And, ironically, evidence indicates the same concern applies unwittingly to their teachers and educational administrators as well.

So, to secure a strong bridge across that infamous abyss between policy and practice, you need bridge builders and visionary leaders with a 21st century perspective. Without them, you will have the death of public education.

Let’s hope that the new bi-partisan legislation, the Every Student Succeed Acts (ESSA), develops that bridge building mentality so needed throughout all of our local, federal, and non-profit agencies, particularly those “dedicated” to producing and supporting quality public education across our diverse national landscape.