If you don’t know about Ron Berger’s ‘Austin’s Butterfly’ you really should.
I am writing a series of short posts that quote directly from educators who have inspired my thinking about education and more. Here is the first edu-quote for your reading pleasure.
Ron Berger, in his excellent book, ‘An Ethic of Excellence‘, writes about true school improvement. An improvement founded upon building a culture:
“I’m concerned when I pick up a newspaper these days and so often find an article about the “crisis” in education and how a new quick fix will remedy things. More tests, teacher-proof curriculum, merit pay, state standards.
It reminds me of the advertisements for diet products. Fast Weight Loss! Dramatic weight loss! No Work! Lots of money is spent on diet products and a lot is spent on new educational tests. But it seems that almost everyone who loses weight quickly with the aid of a quick fix product ends up gaining it all back. Weighing yourself constantly doesn’t make you lighter and testing children constantly doesn’t make them smarter. The only way to really lose weight and keep it off, it seems, is to establish a new ethic – exercise more and eat more sensibly. It’s not a quick fix. It’s a long-term commitment. It’s a way of life.
I have had a hard time thinking about a quick fix in education because I don’t think education is broken. Some schools are very good; some are not. Those that are good have an ethic, a culture, which supports and compels students to try and to succeed. Those schools that are not need a lot more than new tests and new mandates. They need to build a new culture and a new ethic. I don’t believe there’s a shortcut to building a new culture. It’s a long-term commitment. It’s a way of life.” (P4, Ron Berger, An Ethic of Excellence’)