As someone who developed curriculum for a Texas Charter school (while working in the classroom), I realized that teachers are conservative in part because:

  • Education leaders shifted paradigms as often as TV networks changed their lineups.
  • The idea of giving teachers flexibility to adapt curricula innovations never occurred to anyone.
  • No one ever understood that no one model works for all teachers and all students.

As a result, many teachers resisted change because they knew once they mastered the new model, another one would loom behind them demanding their allegiance. Administrators resisted change because they devoted so many resources to adapting the one being replaced.

On top of that, state dictated standards were so arcane that no teacher could master them in a single classroom, much less cover them in all their classes unless they simply plodded through the state mandated textbook, which usually made contemplating the same blade of grass for nine straight months seem exciting by comparison.

Adding to the problem? Texas politicians and administrators when asked to choose between well-qualified and the cheapest teacher almost always went with cheap.

I never tool an interesting math class in high school. I can remember six teachers who held my interest at all. And I had to struggle to come up with the last three because I only took one class with them.

Seven. There were seven. But it wasn’t the class. My French teacher was so hot I could barely think about French.

The one model that recognized no one method works for all students (learning styles) missed the boat when advocates insisted teachers master all learning styles (a method easier to parody and satirize than make work). Education is difficult. The use of multiple teaching approaches and multiple learning styles is difficult to standardize, and there’s the rub. We can’t standardize teaching (as much as we want to). And yet education is driven by the demand to standardize.

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