Improvement — now there is a thought-provoking word! We instinctively know what it means but I’m once again off to grab the dictionary. Literally, it means an increase in excellence of quality or condition.
I like to think of education reform in terms of school improvement because if we aren’t focused on the quality of education and the conditions under which we expect children to learn, what’s the point?
Use standards as an example. If a standard isn’t excellent, it can’t guide improvement. And if the conditions in which we expect a standard to be met aren’t excellent, what are the chances real lasting improvement will occur?
The literal meaning said an increase in excellence of quality “or” conditions but I would hope people can understand that for school improvement we need both high quality teaching “and” excellent conditions under which learning takes place.
We can monitor outcomes until the cows come home but we won’t get real education reform until we supply the necessary inputs that create quality learning conditions. It’s up to us to provide the conditions conducive to creating a societal culture that values education and will unquestionably support classroom climates where excellence is the norm, for all.