“We cannot solve a problem within the same consciousness that created it. We must learn to see the world anew.”
I’ve seen a lot of school reform in the past 25 years. I started my career in education policy. It had a lot of sex appeal for a young idealist because in the early 90s when we were just beginning to talk about public education as the new frontier for civil rights—the idea that fixing our schools could be the catalyst for social change. Public education was our best chance to end poverty and propel our democracy. My first job was in Chicago and I learned a lot about the politics of urban school reform. Not much about the schools themselves, but an awful lot about power and money.
After Chicago I spent four years working for the New Mexico Legislature. It was perfect for me—a job in my home state where I could bring my analytical skills to benefit my own community. I loved it because when you’re a policy analyst for the legislature, you learn about the bottom line and what 27 year-old doesn’t love knowing the bottom line? How much does it cost and what’s the evidence that it worked? It’s the view of a skeptic who isn’t swayed by anecdotes or personal stories.
Here’s a snapshot of educational performance in our state since the time I did policy work: Continue reading…