To the Editor:
I am commenting on the Politics K-12 blog post “Betsy DeVos to State Chiefs: Full Speed Ahead on the Every Student Succeeds Act” (Feb. 10, 2017). As educators, we all know about differentiated instruction, different learning styles, etc. It strikes me as a step backwards into ignorance if we can’t apply the same research-based principles to reviewing ESSA plans that we’ve already found to be beneficial elsewhere. There is diversity among the human race. Not every school or writer should need to follow a uniform plan.
We are supposed to be professionals who deal with real people and real ideas, creativity, and convergent and divergent thinking. If we can read an ESSA plan and understand it—even if every school has a unique way of presenting it to reviewers—we should applaud that we are not all just blips on a screen. We are thinking and breathing human beings. Many modern corporations realize this, and have moved away from tedious constrictive forms.
Is the goal of the ESSA plans to check a lot of boxes for a federal computer database so we can feel happy that we are working hard, even if we haven’t accomplished anything of substance? Or is the goal to engage each other as a multifaceted community that wants the best for its children and that relies on mutual understanding in order to better its diverse and creative population?
A version of this article appeared in the March 22, 2017 edition of Education Week as We Are Not Just ‘Blips on a Screen’