In the past few weeks, members of our Firm’s faculty have been on listening tours and school performance audits in seven high schools in suburban and inner city environments in the Midwest. Their observations were alarming to me–especially since there is likely no American citizen left who does not know how important it is to energize our Nation’s high schools. Here are some, excerpted from my email, voice mail, and telephone conversations:
1. from RW: “The school is wonderfully clean, tidy, and friendly, but precious little is going on academically.”
2. from HK: “This is a nice warm school environment, but there is little evidence that teachers care about the academic futures of these kids.”
3. from LF: “After all we know about this country’s concern for its high schools, you’d think these folks would step up and address the needs of kids.”
4. from KLM: “I saw very little meaningful engagement between teachers and their students.”
I hate to accentuate the negative, but how much political battle, how much stimulus money, and how much pressure do we need to apply to make our high schools work well for all kids. Fact is we know what to do, we just need to become determined to actually do what needs to be done in all of our Nation’s high schools.
On a good note, each of our faculty members saw (in pockets) quite positive work from teachers and students in almost every one of the seven schools visited (and referenced above). We must move from pockets of good work to great work being done with all our kids.
What are you observing in high schools these days?