Embracing Change to Benefit Students

No public school is perfect, and I give truckloads of grace to the teachers, administrators, and schools that tried to meet student needs during the 2020-2021 school year. However, it is staggering to realize that during a year of unprecedented change, the system refused to change, and many elements within the system cried out, “Let’s keep the needs of adults at the center of our discussions for the benefit of adults.”

We now have the results of not trying, not engaging, and not moving forward to see that students were engaged, offered new content, grading, and daily connection with a credentialed teacher. Too many schools and districts made excuses on why they couldn’t meet these criteria, and only a few demonstrated that they could.

The data shows us that too many schools and educational professionals stepped back and did not move forward this past year. The excuses took center stage, and failure has been elevated as a result. Indeed, students are the victims, and educational professionals have been derelict in their duties.

Now, let’s consider that 300+ independent study charter schools across the state stepped forward during the pandemic, enrolled thousands of extra students, and have accomplished academic success and student engagement. Despite this success, the state targeted these schools and withheld their funding this school year. This intentional effort triggered a lawsuit against the state. Now, we still have powerful legislators seeking to cut our funding and have a perception of our schools based on the actions of a few.

The bigger question every taxpayer should be asking is, “Why do we not use the pandemic as the greatest opportunity to embrace change for the benefit of all students in public education?” Instead, we see leaders, organizations, and districts seeking to hold on to yesterday at all costs, and students and their needs are not part of the conversation.

The Classical Academy organization is not perfect. We have learned, grown, and improved as an organization. This year we are proud that we put students first and will be graduating students who have become better thinkers, communicators, and achievers as a result.