Connecting Policy to Practice, But What’s Connected to the Policy?

I had the good fortune to be one of over 2,000 faces in the room at the Phoenix Convention Center this week for the Professional Learning Communities Summit.   How was it?  Invigorating.  Energizing. Engaging.  Affirming.  But, also frustrating.  Disappointing.  Aggravating.

To continue my long tradition of name dropping, I listened to Marzano, Mohammed, Eaker, Reeves, and DuFour – both Mr. and Mrs.  Over the course of three days, a portion of my district’s Title IIa funds became well-reflected in the 66 pages of notes I took on my iPad.

All of that said, my mind kept racing back to a key concept:  We know what works and we know what doesn’t.  However, as a profession, we have been unable to implement any system-wide changes.  Although the talking-heads would tell you it’s a union problem, it isn’t.  And, this is coming from a school principal who works with NEA, daily.  PLC’s, coupled with common formative assessments, and reformed grading practices change children’s lives and create energetic working environments where teachers enjoy collaborating around specific and shared goals.  Yet, it rarely happens.

2,500 people in the audience would likely agree, or, I would bet they wouldn’t have been there, either.

Rather than describe exactly what I have concluded (although it isn’t exactly rocket science), I have simply uploaded a rough sketch I did while listening to Dr. Reeves.

Do you see the disconnect(s) that I see?  Is the question really whether or not policy effectively meets practice?



Mike Lee

Mike Lee

Phoenix, Arizona

I am the Director of Outreach and Engagement for The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, and certified as a Middle Childhood Generalist in 2004. In 2012, I received my doctorate in educational leadership from Northern Arizona University, however, I began my work in education serving as a para-educator in a special education program while still an undergraduate. My passions in the field include assessment and reporting strategies, the evolving role of technology, teacher leadership, and effective professional development that permanently impacts instruction. I consider myself a professional teacher first, as well as a professionally evolving lifelong learner, who is incredibly fortunate to have the opportunity to impact the lives of children.

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