When Confronted By A New Idea...

I'm reading Steven Brill's new book, Class Warfare, on my new Kindle. I'm enjoying it (actually, both). I'll post my review when I'm done. Rick Hess reviewed it, and wrote:

Even after finishing his book, I'm not entirely clear what Brill means when he labels someone "anti-reform."

His question made me think about a recent blog by Seth Godin (business writer), who wrote:

The warning signs of defending the status quo.

When confronted with a new idea, do you:

Exaggerate how good things are now in order to reduce your fear of change?

Undercut the credibility, authority or experience of people behind the change?

Focus on short-term costs instead of long-term benefits, because the short-term is more vivid for you?

Fight to retain benefits and status earned only through tenure and longevity?

Compare the best of what you have now with the possible worst of what a change might bring?

Of course that's not how it looks to defenders of status quo. In their view, education reform today is change that's bad. They argue reformers exaggerate how good things will be if their changes are implemented. (There's also a different group, folks who hate the status quo but want different change -- that's for another day).

Since I work for a charter school and a teacher residency, it's easy for me to identify with "reformer."

But am I really?

Sometimes when changes happen in the 3 MATCH schools I experience fear. The principals and staff who are proposing and implementing the change obviously think it's "reform." I may disagree. In those situations, I could be labeled "anti-reform."

In my opinion, I'm not some old fart who wants to defend mediocrity. I am a wise, handsome middle-aged dude who questions whether the change will improve things.

Of course, we're a small community. I have a good relationship with Meg, Lisa, and Kate, our 3 principals, and respect them enormously. Occasionally I'll pipe up about something. Mostly, though, I agree with 95% of what happens in our schools, and figure I'll learn from the 5% where I disagree. Often, I've learned over the years, it turns out my fear was wrong, and the new way works better.

Though sometimes the old fart is right.