"The problem with most schools is that they are accompanied by an aura of crisis, and we stop thinking."
Probably the most life changing experience I dealt with in education came with NCLB and CiPS status. Despite knowing the students underperformed, or at the time, danced on the finite line of acceptable achievement, as teachers and administrators, we did little to prevent the failing status from crashing down on our lives. When the eminent failure occurred, the district and school when into a reactionary crisis mode, which for the sake of this posting, I will not go into. I agree with Graves. We absolutely stopped thinking. Instead, we "bought" into the nearest school improvement program we could find. We did not think about our situation before hand, we simply maintained status quo. When the time came to think, we sought direction, based on another model, and expected the same results. The aura of crisis invited educators to feel needed and that they worked towards a common goal - avoiding failing again. All the while, we lost more and more focus on the students for scores and documented interventions.
"Children need to know that as human beings they are more important than what I have to teach them. Its too easy to slip into the trap of attaching moral and existential goodness to learning."
I've way too often lost sight of Graves' point. I find external issues, particularly school based weigh heavily on my priorities list which includes assessment, data collection, and instruction. I find the students who enjoy my class are the one who realize I am teaching them, as a person, not an object on a continuum.