When I user "reformer," complete with the quotation marks, I'm talking about the people the read the blogs, skim the books, and go to the TED Talks/Conferences/Focus Groups and end up sounding like real life Mad Libs of business and education jargon.
A few days ago, I got together with a bunch of teachers to celebrate Summer almost being here. We were talking about the latest in Dallas education issues, trying to solve to city's problems in about 2 hours, and I had to call an emergency timeout. In the middle of this jargon heavy discussion, the following thoughts were racing through my head that I had to make public before the discussion could continue.
"Were we all just talking about the same thing? Which #Gap is the biggest problem in Dallas? Do they all mean the same thing? No, YOU check YOUR privilege! Wait, is that acronym new or did you just make it up?"
When it was just two of us, it was fine. Add a few more people to the mix and it became an incomprehensible mess. We started off talking about Pre-K suspensions and ended up talking about microaggressions, ESSA, SLOs, DOLs, ACPs, STAARs, ACIs, AFT, The #BeliefGap, The #OpportunityGap, The #AchievementGap.
I was starting to have a serious #ComprehensionGap and felt like my #FrustrationGap was either widening or closing (whichever means I was getting really pissed off).
We all laughed about it post timeout because it was pretty funny. It really was and still is. The part that isn't funny though was that we all probably wasted about 45 minutes of the 2 hour discussion pretending to understand each other. Maybe we could have solve all of Dallas' problems if we weren't all so busy listening to ourselves talk and being super impressed by how "smart" and "reform" minded we all sounded.
This isn't a new problem in education, and Dallas ISD certainly has its own fair share of acronyms and abbreviations.
Look, I'm a reform guy. I think there is a great deal of room for improvement in Dallas, the DFW metroplex, the state, and our country. All I'm saying is that something gets lost when "the kids can't read" morphs into the #LiteracyGap and our students pay the price.
Progress is built on communication, not confusion.
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From Around the Web
A Rant About Education Jargon - The Washington Post
A Simple Cure for Education Jargonitis - NPR
How Education Jargon Hurts Kids - Spectator
Why Education Reporting is So Boring - The Atlantic