by Oliver & Rachel DeMille

We recently posted citing information from an article that raised serious concerns about the new Common Core Standards. And while the information we passed on from the article was technically “factual,” on closer scrutiny, it was clearly designed to manipulate the sentiments and mislead the understanding of its audience. We appreciate the several of our readers who helped us follow up on this (some who had fabulous contributions of their own on related subjects), and regret having been party to perpetuation of misconceptions about the Common Core Standards.

We are deeply disappointed at the cynicism and lack of vision that incite editors to participate in such hack partisan politics. We acknowledge that there are honest differences in the way many people view our nation’s goals, and that solutions are not easy to synthesize; but to purposely misconstrue and misrepresent the details is a breach of the professional ethics of journalism and a failure to uphold the public’s trust.

It is a sobering reminder that even where there are “facts”, the conclusions we draw from them must be objective and wise. Now more than ever, it is imperative that we become our own experts, and think independently. Kudos to our readers who did just that.

Some Thoughts

This is a great opportunity to celebrate the thousands of educators and public servants who are truly dedicated to serving the needs of the rising generation. Across this great nation, there is scarcely a single school that does not have at least a few teachers or administrators of the kind that you and I remember with deep appreciation — passionate, gifted, mission-driven individuals who sacrifice much of their own time and resources, and who are rewarded too little. Our public school system is currently the only recourse for many children and families, and the consecrated and selfless professionals who invest themselves there, in a variety of functions, serve the interests of us all.

Obviously, even as there are many wonderful individuals who work in schools, our nation is striving to address shortcomings within the system — many of which we (and others) have articulated. But let us not draw the lines of differentiation between “us” and “them,” but rather in the arena of ideas.

When we consider what we want for our families, let us also honor the choices that other families make, and do nothing to undermine their success or their children’s confidence in their choices.

Let us model for and teach our children how to comment and dissent in the arena of ideas while still maintaining rapport and camaraderie with the parties to the discussion.

Indeed, there are many who subscribe to the principles of Leadership Education, and who, for a variety of reasons, also avail themselves of offerings within the public school system. This can work extremely well, with three key elements contributing to success:

  1. An educator-mentor who truly believes in the vast potential of his/her students, and who strives (whether consciously or naturally, from his own “knowing”) to apply the 7 Keys of Great Teaching
  2. A child or youth who steps up to becoming a self-educator, taking responsibility for finding in her books, resources and available relationships the classical experiences and mentoring she needs to detect and refine her genius
  3. A parent-mentor who invests him/herself in the process to facilitate the phases for his or her children, and who helps provide resources, opportunities and experiences that help the children to prepare for their personal missions.

It may be well argued that these are listed in reverse order of importance. Even with just one of these in play, the other two will usually be fostered into activity on some level. With two, success is almost guaranteed. With all three: Well, that’s the definition of Leadership Education, no matter where the child is sitting.