The news media continues to publish articles daily that describe turmoil, distrust, and negative thinking linked with politics. Some people tend to want to stay away from the informative reporting because they are tired of the attitudes that are working against what could be achieved. However, it appears that some people may be choosing to find solutions rather than continue to find faults and failures.
Did you know that whenever Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett called Scott Walker to concede on Tuesday evening, June 5, 2012, he announced to a very sad, angry, and disappointed crowd that he and Walker had agreed it was important to work together? Many of the Wisconsin voters, who were on different sides, said they hoped the state could move past its political differences once the election ended. Interestingly in a state where there had been bitter rivalry, the people were stating, according to various news sources, that they saw a state with half of the population mad at the other half of the population and that this needed to change.
Is that possible? It can be possible when people use their talents and skills and collaborate so that solutions are discovered. Of course this means changing traditions, in some cases, and moving forward and learning from, rather than looking at, the past. This is especially true after an election when one group has fought to make the other group understand their concerns and their compelling whys. The challenges can look hopeless when people will not move past the anger and the frustration they are feeling when their personal goals are not met.
Many say, “That is more difficult than one might think. How in the world can different people with different agendas and personality traits reach agreements?” It is evident that people will have to discover how they can set the differences aside and collaborate to solve the problems that exist. This is especially true whenever it comes to education in this country. We cannot continue criticizing each other and pointing fingers as to who is to blame for certain programs failing.
There are many successful schools and educational programs throughout the United States and the world which could be studied. For example, one particular country whose schools should be examined is Finland. As mentioned in the 2010 documentary Waiting for “Superman”, Finland’s schools are succeeding. “Whatever it Takes” is the motto for the teachers in Finland. In fact, these teachers are very comfortable with using each other as consultants whenever a particular method does not work with a student or students. By listening and applying what another teacher suggests, problems are solved quickly and student learning continues in a positive direction.
How wonderful that would be…people relying on other people’s expertise regardless of political party to which they belong…regardless of personal agendas each believes must come first…regardless of his/her economic status! Collaboration and consultation could actually lead to solving the problems that were once believed to be impossible to solve.
Pat Summitt, former head women’s basketball coach at the University of Tennessee, has the right frame of mind when it comes to challenges and reaching goals. As she endures her diagnosis of Alzheimer, she continues to live by her personal quote “It is what it is…it will be what you make it!”
As for Wisconsin and all other states which must find solutions to problems linked with education, the economy, and health care, it appears that Pat has provided the reality…it will be what you make it.
What are your feelings with regards to working together to make changes and solve existing problems? Write your comments below…thanks!
Donna Hupe teaches ED 101 – Field Experience I and has been a Pre-Student Teacher/Student Teacher Supervisor at Saint Vincent College for the past five and a half years.