wasting bandwidth since 1999

Wasted Inspiration

According to some second hand news here in the overly-large school district, Ken Robinson will be the keynote speaker next August for our annual Leadership Conference.

At first I was excited about the prospect but, after thinking about it today, I’m a little depressed.

It’s not that I don’t think Sir Ken will do a great job, or that I won’t be able to attend his talk (I may even sit in the auditorium this year instead of watching on video in the overflow room).

Actually, I’m quite sure he will give an interesting, inspirational presentation, talking about the need to transform our current education system and help our students develop their individual talents.

And most of the principals, district administrators, and other central office folks in the audience will nod in agreement and applaud in all the right places, maybe even giving Robinson a standing ovation.

Then those same principals will return to their buildings to plot new ways to get a few more kids in one of their school subgroups to pass the state standardized tests, the better to avoid falling into the NCLB failure category, while largely boring most of their students.

Their bosses, the people who booked Robinson to speak in the first place, will spend the school year pushing everyone in the district for just a few more points on the headline-grabbing numbers.

Ok, so maybe I’m just suffering from too many discussions about data and a distinct lack of anticipation as we head into testing season in which all creative teaching above 2nd grade will grind to a halt.

I’m also not naive enough to believe that one inspirational keynote (and we’ve had many over the years of this conference) will change anything by itself.

But I wonder why our district bothers to bring in speakers like Robinson, not to mention paying their not-inconsequential fees, if everyone is just going to ignore the ideas they offer.


  1. Barry Dahl

    Was absolutely thinking about this exact same concern earlier today. Very tired of people saying that they agree that reform is needed, then watching their actions of same-old, same-old. It’s time to start making a difference. I’m going to start trying to make opportunities to lead change rather than wait for someone to ask me to do it. We’ll know whether I was successful in about 5 years or so. Maybe 10.

  2. Miguel Guhlin

    Unflagging enthusiasm in the idea of change shouldn’t be confused with the commitment to achieve change.

  3. Trekrr

    Interesting that the Overly Large County would books Sir Ken.
    I am excited,about Ken Robinson being the keynote speaker.at our annual Leadership Conference. I have loved his comments and suggestions since you introduced him to our Tech group, and have tried to carry his message on to other people. Has it enlightened others, hard to tell, but I’ll keep in trying.

    Here’s my rant. Change, in any organization, has to come from the top. Unless, and until, the folks at the top stop giving lip service to all these wonderful ideas, significant change will never occur. Or is it that there are too many great ideas and they can’t decide which one to settle on?

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