The problem is not the school.
Every school in America is, will be or was a failing school at one point in time in its history. Every school is not the same school it was the day before. Every school in America has gone through the turbulence of a change in the principal, a cut in the budget or a shift in priorities. And every school in America wrestles with complex challenges like giving tests written in English to students who just arrived from their native countries six months ago, and every school in America struggles to give adequate services to students with special needs, children who have been historically denied access to basic resources, children living in poverty (not to mention children living in abusive households).
Yet this is America—a nation of people whose ancestors were either dragged here by force and treated very badly, or whose ancestors were so ruggedly idealistic that they chose an uncertain future and a month of vomiting over herding goats for the rest of their lives in the early morning shadow of Mussolini— so we either suffer these facts daily, screaming to a deaf audience, or try to forget them all together by dwelling in the optimism of real estate futures, Mercedes Benz in the face of climate change, and children named “North.” (Or just some good wine and cheese in front of a fire at Christmas).
The school thing we have all wrong, and I find it troubling that the majority of education jobs in this country are predicated on a blind belief otherwise. With policy changes, leadership and teacher turnover and constant churn in the student population, a school is simply brick and mortar.
It’s time to change the conversation.