Our policies have to shift

Al Gore said:

We have to abandon the conceit that isolated personal actions are going to solve this crisis. Our policies have to shift.

He was talking about global climate change but he might as well have been talking about our attempts to transition schools into the 21st century…

9 Responses to “Our policies have to shift”

  1. That reminds me of this congressional rant from Pat McHenry (R NC). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8E50xnFhbf0 How is he wrong? How is he right?

  2. What a great quote. And I agree 100%. I believe we have to rethink the whole enterprise. I wonder why we seem so immobilized, stunned, hobbled. I wonder how many others see this reality.

  3. love the quote.
    Add it up to Margaret Mead’s and I think we may have an equation whose sum is greater than its parts.

    “Never doubt that a small group of people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has”

    I’m adding the Gore quote to the quotes that rotate on my site. thanks.

  4. Sorry, I have to say that Gore’s name attached to any quote doesn’t add a lot of intellectual capacity and credibility for me. The word that does pull it together, however, is isolated. Without that word, I am in 100% disagreement, because unless I move nobody is going to do it for me, and the policy doesn’t make a hill of beans difference. Individuals have to move, and by moving in some unified manner is the only way it impacts the big picture.

  5. I also agree with this statement as it relates to the current situation in education in Australia.

    Policies and shift being the keywords.

    Individuals can make incremental changes that may contribute to policy evolution and may even move collective thinking closer to a “tipping” point.

    However, at this time, early 21ct, we need more revolutionary thinking translated into rapidly implemented policy at peak body levels if we are going to transition or transform education (schooling) to embrace the opportunities offered by learning 2.0 tools and pedagogies.

    Elaine Talbert

  6. “Isolated personal actions” may just as easily apply to schools that are modeling significant change efforts– schools where teachers are thriving, families are supported, kids are made whole. Why so much resistance to the notion that revolutionary change…”transcendent” change… can happen one school at a time? Can the automobile or airline industry only improve if all the big players move lock-step together on the same reform agenda? Are we not relying on their entrepreneurialism and organizational agility to save their industries– company by company?

    The downside of relying on “models” to lead the way in school reform is that those models are not easily replicated. Why? Because traditional public schools are designed to NEVER change. Moreover, they are landlocked by public policy that is hostile to children. Why do I have students with teeth rotting in their heads and kids who have no access to an optometrist? Why are we now seeing 2 and 3 (and more) families occupying two bedroom apartments and trailer homes? What happened to the funding for 6 to 6 programs in my community?

    These are public policy issues.

    If we began replacing “Program Improvement” LEGISLATORS whose actions or inaction left children behind… we would have far fewer “Program Improvement” schools! Now that would be a policy shift that would hasten the transition of our schools into the 21st century!.

  7. I think Gore is right on target. @Marshall, I am sure it was a much wiser man that he that wrote this quote into his speech.
    Policy is unfortunately what often limits our efforts for change. Take NCLB for instance. This policy focusses on getting all children of a chronological age to be at the same minimum cognitive level at the same time. The policy needs to shift to encourage educators to assess each student as an individual and then demonstrate appropriate cognitive growth. An example might be to allow off level testing for students having Individual Education Plans. Currently policy demands that we test these students using an assessment which has levels but we forcd into testing students we know to be below one level with the same test we are testing those we know to be at another. Thus the results are really useless in terms of providing us any real feedback on what is working with these students. Then we tell the student and the school that despite the fact that the student may have demonstrated some outstanding growth during the previous year that we are not satisfied with their performance. If the student was not already experiencing difficulties we would not be providing them Special Education Services in the first place. Services which I might add already have a system for tracking performance and adjusting instructional strategies built into them.
    We have policies which prohibit us from attempting systemic change such as licensure requirements, minute requirements for student credit to be earned and for accredidation of schools. Why do all subjects need or are even given the same amount of time during the school day when we know that not all subjects, nor all students, need the same amount of time to learn.
    I think that as individuals and collectively we need to accept the responsibility to influence the policy makers for more than just funding allocations/allowable growth.

  8. Love the quote. But, isn’t it interesting how polarized this nation has become politically? Even the mention of a person’s name will cause some folks to reject what he has to say. I often say that if the Global CLimate Change IS for real, then he needs to get out of the picture so that folks won’t view it as a Red/Blue issue.

    Let’s just hope that he (Gore) doesn’t start to speak out for the need for change in education. 🙂


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