‘I use the language of decline, decay, and despair rather than doom, gloom, and no possibility because I think any talk about despair is not where you end but where you start..and then the courage and the sacrifice come in…but at the level of hope not optimism. Optimism and hope are different. Optimism tends to be based on the notion that there is enough evidence out there that allows us to think that things are going to be better, much more rational, deeply secular. Whereas hope looks at the evidence and says “it doesn’t look good at all,” says “it doesn’t look good at all.” Says “we gonna make a leap of faith…go beyond the evidence in the attempt to create new possibilities based on visions that become contagious to allow us to engage in heroic actions always against the odds no guarantee what so ever.” That’s hope. That’s hope.’  ~  Cornel West


Image licensed under Creative Commons by happygreentea via flickr.

Cornel West Makes a distinction that may seem a little academic.  Yet, I like his point!

In Michigan we have had to ‘go beyond the evidence’ and have the ‘courage’ to begin to recreate our economy. We have a long way to go. We still need to generate even more of this kind of commitment to a brighter future within our state. We need to be engaged in heroic actions.    

As educators from Michigan or around the country, the evidence sadly shows that not all kids are learning under our American system.  That doesn’t mean that it has to be that way!  We need to ‘go beyond the evidence’ of the present system and have the ‘courage’ to do things differently and be guided by results.  When we are successful with new approaches we need to replicate them.  If we are not successful, then we need to make changes.  Sadly, we in education often do the same thing we have done before expecting different results. We need to engage in heroic actions that truly focus on improved outcomes for all learners.  One of the biggest changes would be to not continue with practices that are not productive.  


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