21 Oct Good for the goose, not good for the gander?
Teachers are rightly expected to meet the needs of their students. There is much proper attention now to how we clarify teaching expectations, measure student growth against those expectations, and support teachers when the regular evaluation of their performance shows that help is needed. Teachers will only find success if they differentiate their instruction based on how fast, how slow, how ahead or how behind the students are in their class. Translated, this means the teacher must instruct differently to different students, depending on the results of the determination of his students’ needs. This is all a logical expectation of states on districts, districts on principals and principals on teachers. Why then wouldn’t the method by which all of this happens—funding—follow the same strategy? Why is the expectation proper as applied to teachers, but not as applied to districts or states? Is this a case of “good for the goose, but not good for the gander”?
Most states, and therefore districts, apply a standard formula as to how many students you need to earn a teacher unit, how many teachers you need to earn an administrator unit (school building or central office), etc. School funding, from the state and district level, generally follows the same idea; nothing differentiated based on need. I am keenly aware of how Federal Title funds attempt to assist with this issue, but my point today is that tremendous inequities still persist in our expectations. While readers may be aware of a unique program or way to “work the current system,” the majority of schools are not aware of such programs and/or do not know how to “work the system.” One example of meeting the need for differentiation with resources is at the Los Angeles Unified School District, now under the leadership of Dr. John Deasy. While one size doesn’t fit all for potential solutions to this need, a good first step would be for leaders to acknowledge the conflict of expectations and collaboratively build sustainable solutions with those on the front line: educators.