( a letter, regarding the FranklinCovey, "Leader in Me" sales pitch, from a meeting at the local school)
I attended the first part of the meeting, last night.(my body rebelled, Painfully, at the tiny, uncomfortable chairs). What I saw, and what I heard from folks who stayed till the end, was an emotional appeal…to jump on a wagon, without much thought, or actual substantive information, in order to “Save” what, by many criteria, does not need saving.
The lampshade beside my bed has a little pin that says that Mason ISD is a “Blue Ribbon” school. It would appear that our Teachers and Staff, and Students, do quite well, given our meager resources.
I assert that this Coveyism is part of a larger, Crusading Movement.
It fits onto the end of the whole “No Child Left Behind”, Standarisation, Budget Shenanigans Campaign…to, first, eviscerate the support, both budgetary, as well as functionally, for Public Education. When these stealth measures have their effect, and the schools are in bad shape, in rides the Education Corporations on a white horse of “Reform”, to save us from ourselves.
This has been operant in many areas of Public Life, for some time.
(Think Post Office, where Congress forced impossible rules and budgetary proscriptions, and then marveled at the “failure”, while hammering away at the supposed “answer”: “Privatisation”!)
Mr Osbourne(spelling?), the Corporate Guru’s Missionary, last night…offered slogans and , essentially, Bumperstickers, as a “solution” to a non-existent “Problem”(Failing Schools) .
He said, near the beginning, that “…if you’ve worked at Walmart, you sort of know what I’m talking about…”(I’m paraphrasing, from memory). What he is, apparently, referring to, is the widespread practice, in many large, “Corporate Cultures”, of beginning the day with Pep Rallies…essentially, to make the Cogs feel good about being Cogs.
Fine and well…
This is Corn Syrup, for the Soul.
I note that, in doing a Google Search for “seven steps….Criticism”, aside from ONE link from the Seminary school at the University of Alberta, one has to go on down to the 30th page(!) of Google returns, before you get to any substantial Critique of this “Program”. This gives me pause, being naturally skeptical…Google is manipulatable. Given enough Money/True Believers, one can get just about anything to the top of a search.(see: Santorum’s “Google Problem”)
Since there seems to be a substantial coterie of Support for this, at school, and in the community, at large…I will endeavor to read the book.(In the height of Irony, I won it in the door prize drawing.)
I will then report back my findings.
My first impression, after listening for an hour, and doing a comprehensive search of all available material (there is much behind a “pay-wall”)…is that we, in Mason, can do much better than this. Indeed, we already have done much better than this.
The School Library is getting rid of Plato, who sits at the very Foundations of Western Civilisation…and we are being asked to pay for this Corporate Maharishi’s Program.
(when asked about the Price, Mr. Osbourne said,” we’re not to that stage, yet”.)
Want to “Improve Student Performance”? Treat them with Respect, Give them the Unvarnished Truth, and, above all, endeavor to Teach them How to Think.
Want to “Improve Teacher Morale”? Value their Input, Treat them with Respect, and, for God’s sake, Pay Them Well. Remove the Sword of Possible Pink Slips, now hanging over their heads. When contemplating Raises, Bonuses, and the like…don’t forget the Aides, without whom the school ceases to Function.