I had the privilege to listen to Ben Wright detail some of his vision for the MNPS schools last night, and I have to say that I was impressed. He voiced a much more student-achievement focused philosophy than the previous Chief Academic Officer did. Dr. Wright's predecessor worked aggressively to articulate standards and focus on the curriculum, but that focus had become myopic by the time she left.
Dr. Wright's focus is more educationally sound, and his strategies (more later) for achieving his goals seem good. Of course, successful implementation will be determined by a host of variables that philosophy and goals cannot fully control, but at least he seems to be on the right track (no pun intended).
Mine is just an initial observation, and much remains to be seen about implementation and buy-in from the stakeholders in the system, but I was invigorated that a cooperative approach linking the Mayor, City Council, and school board with this new focus could, over time, really go a long way in changing the perceptions and realities in our schools. Now is the time for political leaders to call for that cooperative approach.
Missing in action on this are any serious journalistic efforts by print or television news in town to detail the educational philosophy Dr. Wright brings and any serious investigation or comment by either mayoral candidate. I am ready to be corrected if this statement is in error, but I do know that no press was present at the Parent's Advisory Council meeting last night where I was able to hear Dr. Wright detail his goals. That's unfortunate because he was talking about what we need to DO about the NCLB realities. We should have a thriving discussion and debate about action steps to follow moving forward in place of continual hand-wringing about the shape we're in.
By the way, in case you missed it, please help me get attention from the mayoral candidates for my questions about their intentions in the area of education funding.