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?
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

USA: Standardization + medication = American education (Ahniwa)

3. David Warlick and others
have aptly noted that personal computers are the pencil and paper of our
. That’s why this one strikes home so deftly.

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
(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 6–word motto is…

USA: Underwhelming kids on a daily basis (Diana)
this could apply to American public policy too, not just

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