Whatever You Ask Us to Do

Throughout my career, I’ve often heard these sincere and committed words from many of the most highly regarded teachers in our public schools: “Whatever you ask us to do, we’ll make it work.”  However, when asked how, they often reservedly add the following caveat: “While we’ll try to do our best, we are being overwhelmed by a constant flow of changing expectations and mandates that are wearing us out both mentally and physically.”  The mantra that whatever you ask us to do, we’ll make it work has deep roots.  For over a century our public schools have been asked by our political leaders to do more to meet the changing needs of our society.  And, in most instances, our educators have embraced the task and said, “we’ll make it work.”  While turning to our public schools for help has been a blessing in many ways, as the saying goes, no good deed goes unpunished.  In addition to the wear and tear on our teachers, an unintended consequence of these good intentions is that it has embedded in our culture the premise that government oversight is needed to improve education.

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