We hear so much rhetoric today about the Department of Education’s Race to the Top and how states are climbing over each other to get to Mr. Duncan’s pot of gold. The education experts are all weighing in on he latest reauthorization of ESEA. The news is chock full of stories about how teacher unions and tenure are terrible things. We hear how Florida’s SB 6 just about ruined the teaching profession as we know it. So many say that testing is ruining America’s schools. Others say that we need to adopt web 2.0, use new technologies like the Apple ipad to revolutionize learning, and that all educators need to have a PLN (personal or professional learning network). Today it is common to hear that teacher and administrator evaluations need be tied to test scores. News stories lament that America’s test scores are some of the lowest in the industrialized world. What is missing in these discussions? Simple answer. The students! What about their learning? What is their take away? What do the test scores mean to them? How is restructuring our schools going to affect students? How do we make school work for them? If you are looking for an amazing revelation, it is not here, but I do know this: If we are going to have our students value whatever our schools end up being, then we better value their input. The adults need to be a little less concerned about their stake in the success of schools and a lot more concerned about whether or not the students are getting what they need and are experiencing success that is tangible to them. I need to look in the mirror each morning and say “my focus today is to make learning happen for students.” I need to look in the mirror each night and ask myself “what did I do to make learning happen for students?” I ask you to do the same. Whether you are a teacher, a parent, a community member, or a concerned citizen I ask you to make yourself a tool to make education work for STUDENTS. If you are still with me here, I ask you to watch this amazing talk given by Chris Lehmann at tedxnyed about what we need to do: http://bit.ly/at3f0z. What are your thoughts?