Partisan Leaders are No Better Than 3rd Graders That Break a Lamp: Its Time To Grow Up and Lead
I read an article entitled “Jeb Bush’s Common Core Problem” in Newsweek by Kelsey Harkness. Great article. Must read. Very simply put, the article outlines that Bush’s support for Common Core could be THE stumbling block for his presidential aspirations. Crazy talk. In our partisan world, that may be a true statement, but it’s still crazy talk. The article also talks about the great results that Bush has achieved in his home state reforming public education. By many accounts he is a genius for his actual results. He should be applauded not stoned.
The entire premise of the article highlights our dysfunctional mindset in this in country. Notice I didn’t say a dysfunctional government. The structure is sound. The way we operate inside the confines of the structure is what’s broken. We have some strategic challenges in this country that absolutely have to be addressed, education being one of those along with immigration, national security, economic growth, generational poverty. Unfortunately for the American people, all we seem to get from our “Leaders” is “na na a boo boo, I’m smarter than you are” or other elementary school playground talk.
We also hear on a regular basis “it’s his fault, I didn’t do it. I told him to stop, but he wouldn’t listen”. This one hits close to home. I remember growing up with either me chasing my brother or him chasing me around the house. On one occasion I remember very vividly, we broke a lamp, and as expected I blamed him and he blamed me. We see the same level of maturity in many levels of government.
The real problem is that we allow it. Looking back at the broken lamp, my brother and I both got a spanking from my mom and another one from my dad when he got home, hence my vivid recollection of the events. I’m sure similar events happened after that, and I am equally sure that my brother and I were disciplined.
Our system of government is set up to allow the voters to provide oversight and accountability, but somehow the roles have been reversed. We see our elected officials as the parent figures and we are the children. We should be holding them accountable, and if we don’t, we get what we deserve – a bunch of spoiled brats, stomping their feet and holding their breath until they get their way.
Just like our children, I really do believe they are capable. These really are smart people with solid backgrounds. I guess if we are going to keep up the analogy - many of our elected officials are like kids going off to college. They party hard, over indulge, adopt bad habits, and neglect their work. And then beg our forgiveness at the end of the semester when grades come back (or when they are up for re-election).
Back to Jeb Bush. Let’s look at this with a little perspective. By almost all accounts, he had significant success reforming education in Florida. He didn’t just have a good idea. He was able to show actual results. Bush has been a key figure in the creation and roll out of Common Core across the country in hopes of showing those same results across the country. Don’t get me wrong, Common Core is not perfect, and I have my problems with it. I do think it is a great start in raising the bar while holding our educators accountable for the product the produce. As a father with children, I saw the shift away from “teaching to a test” toward more critical thinking and problem solving. In my opinion, I saw more good than bad. Nothing is ever going to be a perfect solution and if we wait for perfect, we will be perpetually stuck with the mediocre. That is not acceptable on this subject or any other.
America is a country for bold solutions and daring experiments. We are an experiment that continues to be a shining light of what can happen when real leaders lead. I expect genuine mature leadership. In fact, I command it.
It’s time for this behavior, which we have condoned, to stop. We, the voters are the only ones that can control that. As the parents, we must stop taking sides and doting over our favorites and command results. Send them to their rooms and don’t let them out until they work it out and bring us solutions. Real solutions to real problems.