Thursday, April 19, 2012

Gobbledygook Translated

Remember the good old days when businesses were overstaffed and we had to have weekly staff meetings to discuss new "paradigms" and other hot buzzwords in order to fill all of our time?  Well that tradition continues in public education.  Proof of that comes to us from the agenda for today's Oshkosh School Board's Education Committee meeting.  That committee is made up of School Board members and administrators--obstensibly to develop and refine curriculum throughout the district.  But based on today's agenda, it appears to exists just to sit around and hear themselves talk.

I point to agenda item #2--Plan for Engagement DRAFT (my translations follow in parenthesis)

a--Define Student Engagement (how do we get kids to actually pay attention to their teachers and not their smart phones, tablets and the cute boy or girl two rows over?)

b--Create rationale for why we intend to spend time on student engagement, mindset and choice words linked to learning (how dow we sell this garbage to parents and convince them it's some kind of cutting-edge educational program using terms and phrases they probably won't understand and won't question for fear of sounding like they are dumb?)

c--Professional development--Engagement, mindset and choice words (how can teachers use this new "focus" to get more time outside the classroom to "collaborate" on achieving the goals and are there some seminars we can pay for them to attend as well?)

d--Create administration talking points and common vocabulary for engagement, mindset and choice words (if we are going to sell this garbage, we'd better make sure that we use Orwellian "groupspeak" just in case someone actually questions what we are doing.)

e--Determine logical connections to existing school improvement plans (how do we make it look like we are actually doing what we say we are doing?)

f--Establish teacher/administrator opportunities for collaborative analysis of student engagement strategies (didn't I tell you there would be collaboration?)

g--Influence teacher evaluation look-fors and administration look-fors--Targets and tools to monitor (how do we use this junk to distract everyone from standardized test scores as a way to evaluate school and teacher performance?)

h--Create a setting where a robust conversation can happen on student engagement, mindset, and choice words anchored in our new model for value and merit (how many meetings can we hold where we sit around and talk for hours on end telling each other what a great job we are doing and feeling real good about ourselves?)

Because of another far more newsworthy event taking place at the same time--I won't be able to cover this to bring you all of the "groundbreaking" details of this meeting.  Actually I'm hoping Catbert from the Dilbert comic strip will show up and banish the entire Education Committee to "Heck".

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