1. There is a thing called the Law of Reverse Importance. It goes like this: what we think is important… really isn’t (yet it drives our lives)… and what we don’t think is important… really is (it can sneak up and destroy our lives). If this sounds backward, then you’ve got a few more lessons to learn (as I did 10 years ago).
2. The people who contribute the least complain the most. This is called the Law of Inverse Effort. By the way, these same people cannot tolerate criticism or complaints about themselves, because they’re smarter than everyone else (right?).
3. The reward for doing a good job is generally-more work. This is not necessarily a bad thing because you certainly don’t want the people who do a bad job doing, most of the work.
4. The schoolhouse is the most fertile ground in the world for hurt feelings. This makes sense because adults would rather get their own feelings hurt than to see their children get their feelings hurt. Many teachers and administrators fail to understand this simple concept, and pay for it over and over. Of course, there are also people who think their kids are more important than everyone else combined in the schoolhouse and should get everything they want, whenever they want it.
5. Children are absolutely wonderful, curious, energetic, enthusiastic, entertaining, and full of dreams. (Gee, wish I was a kid again, but you only get to be a kid once… unfortunately, too many parents and teachers forget this about their own kids and students. And want them to grow up too quickly.
6. We adults develop amnesia about our own performance as a kid, and now (for some bizarre reason) we expect our own children to be smarter, better behaved, better at athletics, more confident, more polite, and more mature than we were as kids. (Hmm… maybe amnesia’s not a… bad thing.)
7. Public education tries to make one shoe fit all, teach all kids at the same rate, and graduate them all in 13 years (K-12) knowing that all kids are not born with the same IQ or ability (the one shoe fits all approach is cheaper, by the way, but ineffective). What we need is more options, more alternatives, and more attention to-reality.
8. Nowadays we seem to think that everyone should go to college, knowing that everyone is not college material.
9. Completing college is not about being smart. It’s about self discipline and perseverance… you know, finishing what you start.
10. Do you remember Bill Clinton’s election mantra years ago (“It’s the economy, stupid!”)? Okay,
Here is one that applies to school districts that the politicians should think about, especially the ones who criticize public schools. “It’s the demographics, Dumbo!” All research shows that the greatest impact on test scores is: socio-economic status (in other words, how much money is made by the kid’s parents). So, a great school district is great because of the community’s PARENTS (translated as demographics, income, education level, and ability to provide resources, support and options for their children)). Mississippi test scores are low overall because we are 50th in the nation in per capita income, not because public education is failing. If our legislators are really interested in improving education, then they should spend more time fixing our status as 50th in the nation (jobs and income) instead of wringing their hands and criticizing a system that is doomed from the very beginning by both reality and research.