Assessments of students, teachers, and principals took center stage all of last year and will continue to remain there moving ahead. Many of us are trapped in resistance. If we allow ourselves to enter that abyss, we give our efficacy away. Perhaps, those who raise the voices of opposition will be triumphant and the mandates will be changed. We give them our support. But, for those among us who are innovative and optimistic, there must be a different path or we risk succumbing to the cynicism and fatigue that characterizes so many right now. If there is summer work to be done, it must be for leaders. They cannot return to schools in the fall in that weakened state of mind.
Change was needed. In our cities, 50% of the students fail to graduate. While rates vary and we can debate how graduation rates are calculated, a large number of those who enter ninth grade do not graduate four years later. ED.gov reports statewide graduation rates of between 62 and 88 percent for students four years after entering high school. Other reports indicate rates a bit lower that 62 and higher than 88 percent, but all indicate the problem. You can find your state's rating onEducation Week's interactive map. Regardless of how hard we are trying and how much progress we have made, it is not enough. Can we really make a credible argument against those who want us to do better?