School Issues: Groce’s Got A Brand New Bag
It’s been over a year since Steph Groce left the school board. Armed with a giant intellect and a tireless love of research, Groce was a popular board member. At least, she was popular with the public… when Groce departed, her colleagues showered her with faint farewell praises at her last meeting:
“You are who you are.”
“You have been tireless and fearless.”
“For better or worse, your public service will make a difference.”
Groce is still making a difference. Groce has been busy comparing the present state of dissatisfaction with city schools to prior states of dissatisfaction with city schools. And she just launched her findings on a new website: www.educatecolumbus.org.
It’s an education geek’s dream.
Consider the Recommendations for Redesigned Central Office (1996). There’s a nice table that lists concerns such as “(We are now) an organization which often appears unconcerned with and unresponsive to customer problems, complaints and concerns.”
That sounds familiar.
Wait, go back further to a document Groce posts from a local education commission in 1968: “Large numbers of people expressed dissatisfaction with certain aspects of the school program including preparation for college and preparation for entry to work upon graduation.”
The commission was concerned about college readiness back in 1968, and in 2013, forty percent of the CCS students who make it to college end up taking remedial classes.
Perhaps Columbus is stuck in its very own eternal return, where the same actions and problems in the schools occur not once, but forever. It’s all the same as it ever was.
It creates a mobius strip of education reform, where administrators and political roles get flipped around, while the families and children continue on a path that returns to the same place.
Breaking that mobius strip is a tall task for the Columbus Education Commission: it’s standing on the shoulders of fifty years of reform failure.
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