Artsweek, Education and Validation
Another blog post reflecting some of my thoughts as I run for State Representative, and try to be a good dad at the same time.
It's been a tough week. I'm trying to get a couple projects off the ground and as potential partners in these projects have interviewed me, they've questioned whether I am up for the project and have made me feel inadequate. I know that these are projects that will be significant challenges for me, but I believe I can do them, and that the criticisms were unwarranted. Nonetheless, I ended up feeling a bit invalidated a couple times this week.
I suspect others often run into this, especially if they are seeking to grow and expand their boundaries. As I tried to process my feelings, I remembered a great YouTube video, Validation:
I'm here to get validated.
You! You are awesome!
It made me think about what is going on in education in America. Our system has become so focused on standardized testing that education seems to be more about invalidation than about validation. You hear education wonks making comments about 'acceptable yearly progress', and not about how awesome our students are.
All of this came to mind as I visited Arts Week at Beecher Road School. The art on the walls, celebrating the creativity of the Beecher Road Students is truly awesome and I was glad to visit the reception with my daughter Fiona.
She is busy campaigning for me, and if I get elected as State Representative, some of the credit will have to go to her. One parent she introduced me to wanted to hear my thoughts about education. We talked about the problems with teaching to the test and having very myopic views of how to measure the success of teachers and administrators. We talked about school districts cutting sports and arts, two of the great ways that students can be validated.
Perhaps most importantly, we talked about that great factor in students' success, parental and community involvement. There were a lot of parents at the reception. There were lots of students being told they are awesome, and I suspect this is one of the things that has greatly contributed to the success of Beecher Road School.
I talked about how my campaign is not against the Republican Incumbent, it is against apathy. It is about getting people more involved in the electoral process, in their community. It is about improving educational outcomes by getting more parents involved in the schools their children attend.
To all of you that are getting more involved, by attending events like the Arts Week reception, by reading this and other blogs about what is happening in the community, and by joining discussions, "You! You are awesome!"