Welcome (back) to Lake Wobegon Academy, where every teacher is highly effective, and every student is (still) in the top quintile…
Oh #TeachStrong… Like one’s loved ones, there is something irritatingly familiar about you. In fact, as I poked about your super cool new website, I couldn’t help but feel as though we’d met somewhere before. Because we have met before. I’ll never forget that day back in June of 2013. You charmed me with that line about *a virtuous cycle of excellence and higher pay for all teachers.* Well, maybe not all teachers (wink, wink!). You called yourself the *Opportunity Culture,* and I was totes smitten, especially when I watched the super cool video that I am helpfully including below. And now, like *funeral baked meats,* here you are again, part of the #TeachStrong family. What say you *Opportunity Culture,* shall we get re-acquainted again? For old-time’s sake?
Can you believe I wrote this next part two and a half years ago?
Reader: we have a fiercely urgent problem on our hands. An epidemic of non-excellence in our public schools is holding the children of this once exceptional nation back and causing them to fall off of the ladders that lead directly to prosperity. Of course it is well known by now that low-income students are most likely to lose their ladder perches due to this plague of non excellence but now comes new evidence that this scourge is even more widespread than originally believed.
And the easy peasy solution
Fortunately, this extensive problem has an equally easy solution. If we just make sure that every student in America has an excellent teacher, they will all be on the super-fast treadmills. But how can we implement this easy solution, especially since our educational arteries are clogged with so many non-excellent teachers, not to mention the *good, solid* teachers whom we only realized were part of the problem when we watched this video??? Easy peasy, reader: you use a combination of old favorites like larger class sizes with new-fangled approaches like *time technology swaps* and *accountable remote teachers* so that the excellent teacher can stretch the outer-most boundaries of excellence.
Now with more excellence
But surely all of this excellence must come with a pretty steep price tag, right? That’s where the good news gets even better, reader. You see the old days of paying *good, solid* teachers *good, solid* wages have now ended and we are in a cool new *opportunity culture.* Which means that it’s now possible to give our most excellent teachers a most excellent pay increase while continuing to spend the exact same amount of money we used to spend, only with non excellent results. Now as someone who was unfortunate enough to have had only *good, solid* teachers at union-stifled public schools, my brain is officially starting to throb, —but I’m pretty sure that in order to pay a few people substantially more everyone else is going to have to earn less. Of course, you don’t make an excellence omelette without breaking a whole lot of eggs.
The Lake Wobegon effect
Alas, that is the price we must all be prepared to pay in order to overcome the excellence deficit that has for so long caused our children to fall from their ladders of opportunity, landing upon their slow moving treadmills. And to all of you haters who insist on dwelling upon an inconvenient statistical concept called the median, which separates the higher half of a data sample from the lower half, pack up your excuse packs and head on home. There is no median at the Lake Wobegon Academy of Excellence and Innovation. All of the students here are excellent.
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