By Ben Johnson:
“Please look at the labels on the walls and with your elbow partner; pick the top three priorities for educators and schools.” Posted around the walls were the words: Curriculum, Assessment, Instruction, Professional Development, Student Learning, Equity, Differentiation, and Classroom Management. I gave the principals a few minutes to chat and come up with a prioritized list and then we began discussing their conclusions.
Some thought it was an obvious trick question and chose student learning as the number one priority. Others chose curriculum because, “If you have nothing to teach, students can’t learn — beat that!” Still others countered, “But if you have the best curriculum but low quality instruction, students won’t learn either — so there!” “If only affluent students learn, then there is no equity for poor students — try that on for size!” This lively discussion continued for each of the elements.