Looking to the future, if we’re going to keep the momentum going and enhance the Polk school experience for everyone, we’ll need to tackle tough challenges — educational, social, and political. We must decide for ourselves the type of educational system we want. And we must commit to making it real. Here are some thoughts, strategies, and priorities.
* Talk honestly about segregation — by race, class, type of school, and test score.
- How do we diminish it?
- If we can’t diminish it, how can a unique Polk experience reduce the harm it causes — through increased resources, teacher recruitment, or other approaches?
* Develop voluntary screenings and intervention strategies for children with high levels of early childhood stress. Studies show toxic stress is a powerful predictor of struggles in school.
* Survey children and teachers annually about the quality of the classroom experience.
* Prepare an alternative model of assessment and accountability that is smarter and more humane than the state’s. If we have a model ready to “opt-in” to, we’ll be better positioned to seize political opportunities for change at the state level.