Are we training lab mice?

From Diane Ravitch’s blog:

A teacher in Broward County writes:

“I am tired of hearing about data. We teach CHILDREN, every time I hear about the data, I feel like they think we are training lab mice,”

This is the battle I find myself in, as a technology guy and as a Commissioner. Data is important. It’s hard (impossible?) to measure effectiveness without data. Really, I am a data guy.  But there is a line.  This is about students. And they’re not just numbers.

The role of Commissioner is to oversee the effective delivery of a school board’s human, financial and educational services. We are to create, monitor and update policy to ensure that we are meeting the needs of the population. We are accountable.

I worry that we sometimes miss the fact that we are not just shuffling “numbers”.  Each one of these “numbers” is a student, living within a family with all of its history, its uniqueness and its varied abilities. When it comes down to students and their families, the Commissioner is the final line of defence for the student first, above and beyond the numbers.

As we embark on a new school year, I’m going to do my very best to ensure that Council has it in mind that students are the priority; they are not just numbers. We are *not* training lab mice.

Truly,

Steve

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