Welcome to Lake Wobegon Academy, where every student is in the top quintile…
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.
Reader: it was not until I watched the video below that I began to understand the full extent of our excellence malaise. (EduShyster premium readers: I am recommending a box of rosé in keeping with the blushing that you will be doing as you realize the extent of your own non-excellence…)
The new bad news
Allow me to summarize for viewers who are still “1 year behind,” to use the language of excellence. You see, having ineffective teachers causes all students to walk backwards on the treadmill of life (Note that we are now switching from earlier ladder metaphor to new treadmill metaphor despite latter’s unintentional rendering of education as joyless, unending and treadmill-like). But that’s the old bad news. The new bad news is that even with “good, solid” teachers, students are merely treading along on their treadmills. Only excellent teachers can effectively move the setting to ‘e,’ causing the treadmill to speed up, sending all students rocketing towards 21st century skills and prosperity. Note: the outstanding video is also available as an outstanding slide show.
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” best practice “pods” 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.
Send tips, comments and excellence-enhancing ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.