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Guest Thinkers

Turning around versus turning in a new direction

Even though I’ve been a NASSP member for years, it took me until yesterday to run across the Principal’s Policy Blog – definitely a source I’ll start tracking from now on. It’s amazing what’s out there if you start looking. It just verifies my belief that everything’s on the Internet somewhere – you just need to be able to find it!

In her post about proposed bonuses for principals, Shana Kemp says:

While I agree wholeheartedly with her statement that quality leadership is desperately needed, I would respectfully argue that instead of turning our education system around (which implies back toward what was being done successfully before) we need to be turning our education system in a new direction.

One of the contributing factors to schools’ increasing dropout rates and students’ stagnant performance on standardized tests is that an ever-growing number of students are recognizing that much (most?) of what they are learning in schools is unrelated to the knowledge and skills necessary to thrive in the technology-infused, globally-interconnected world at large. This disconnect contributes to student apathy and disinterest in current schooling approaches.

A new conceptualization of schools that was more cognizant of their obligations to prepare future digital citizens might make them less irrelevant for today’s schoolchildren. As David Warlick and others have so aptly noted, the issue is not whether students are successful regarding 19th century skills but whether they are being adequately prepared to be productive members of our increasingly technological future.

I would love to hear more about what NASSP and others are doing to prepare secondary school administrators to be better technology leaders.


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