I thoroughly enjoyed reading the submissions for my recent contest. As you may recall, I asked readers, "What would be a good six-word motto for your nation's schools?"
Here are my favorites. All of these were picked solely by me and all had to do with the USA. Your list might be different!
6. This one gets at the lack of leadership during an era of turbulence. Of course that's one of the main themes of my work and this blog.
USA: Rudderless in the sea of change (Dave)
5. Although it's a phrase that's been used by others, I thought this was a nice choice for this contest. It captures much of the essential tension between the current system and the constructivist leanings of many edubloggers.
USA: Dewey ... or don't we?
(Scott, I know you're jonesing for a CASTLE mug. Maybe next time!)
4. This one just made me laugh ('cause, given its essential truth, otherwise I'd have to cry)! All three of this contributor's entries were pretty clever...
USA: Standardization + medication = American education (Ahniwa)
USA: Number two pencil is main tool (Michelle)
2. The 'faddism' that occurs in American education is legendary. Veteran teachers roll their eyes at the latest thing that comes along, saying "This too shall pass."
USA: Another solution to a previous solution (drollord)
1. With advance apologies to Larry and Alice, who rightfully noted a concern that most of the entries were negative, my favorite was this one. Our schools have, indeed, been extremely positive contributors to American society and I am a big proponent of schools and educators. That said, like others, I still think that there is a LOT of wasted potential and that often students succeed despite, not because of, their K-12 educational experiences. See, for example, the classroom observation studies profiled in John Goodlad's A Place Called School (whole book), Mike Schmoker's Results Now (p. 18), or in the March 30, 2007 article by Robert Pianta in Science. So with due respect to all of the educators who are working extremely hard, my personal selection for best 6word motto is...
USA: Underwhelming kids on a daily basis (Diana)
(note: this could apply to American public policy too, not just schools)
Diana, I don't know who you are, but if you contact me, I'll mail you a CASTLE mug. Paul, please contact me also. I'm going to award you a bonus mug because I like how you involved your middle schoolers. Thanks, everyone, for participating!