For the past few months our overly-large school district has been working on a big project called Portrait of a Graduate, which, according to the information page/press release, is supposed to produce “a guide to create a long-range strategic plan for the school system” for “our community’s expectations of what they want a graduate … to know and understand”.

Not a bad goal. Take a step back and completely reevaluate why we exist as a school system in the first place. Or am I reading too much into that?

Anyway, so who is involved in developing this ambitious plan?

…a task force representing parents, teachers, school administrators, community and civic leaders, and businesses is meeting in three facilitated sessions from October to December to examine new models of a 21st century education that is tied to outcomes in terms of proficiency in core subject knowledge and skills that are expected and highly valued in school, work, and community settings.

Notice anything missing from that “representing” list? Yep, no students. No future members of that graduating portrait. No young adults who actually graduated from our schools in the past few years. No one who dropped out of school.

Why is it that school reform discussions almost never include meaningful participation from kids, the people most affected by the decisions that will be made?

Certainly would make for a better, more accurate portrait.