Monday, August 17, 2009

The Challenge of Change

Reading yet again about the challenge of changing our health care system in the United States it occurred to me that there is a parallel to Jewish educational improvement here.
The health care system needs change.
The Jewish educational system needs change.
Change is difficult.
Systems resist changing.
Change is messy.
Meaningful change needs constituent buy-in.

And here is the BIG QUESTION!

In the case of an educational system that exists within a fundamentally conservative setting, which I would suggest Judaism is, I believe that the necessary constituent buy-in is much more likely to support change that is incremental than that which is system-wide.

And I really believe that this incremental change can be meaningful in improving outcomes.

What can you change in preparing for the school year that can improve student learning outcomes?
What can you change about your teaching throughout the year to support improved learning outcomes?
What can you change about your class?
What can you change in your school?

Take a few minutes to reflect on these questions now, before the school year starts. You may find yourself on the way, one step at a time, to valuable change.

1 comment:

  1. Change can occur either in tiny steps or in a sweeping dramatic revolution. The concern is the faster and greater the change, the stronger and greater the response (whether positive or negative) to the change will be. Rome wasn't built in a day and HaShem did not make us a nation overnight. (According to torah, it two two generations between slavery and nationhood.)

    Little change will occur, I strongly believe, until teachers and probably principals too, in supplementary Jewish schools, are given a salary and benefits package which is on par with the most important task we have of educating the next generation of Jews. In a capitalist society, like it or not, very often increased salaries bring increased respect for you as a professional. I've been arguing this for years with little success. I recently turned down a few jobs because (among other issues at times,) the salary was abominably low. It goes like this - If you respect me enough to hire me and be responsible for making sure that you have Jewish grandchildren (as per Golda Meir,) then respect me enough to pay me as a professional.

    As a USY youth director (as I am not involved with a school this coming year,, my goal this year is to continue to bring a greater level of Yiddishkeit to my USYers, which is often lacking in favor of a social/"Let's just hang out," by doing everything possible to encourage them to engage Judaism up close through experiential events. To paraphrase Nike ads, "Just Jew It!"