Doug Benevento's remarks following his belated resignation from the Douglas County School Board brought a rare opportunity for me to agree with his position: change is hard for some …
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Doug Benevento's remarks following his belated resignation from the Douglas County School Board brought a rare opportunity for me to agree with his position: change is hard for some people. Unfortunately, the remark itself is the extent of our agreement.
Based on his comments and actions as a board member, his implication is surely that those resisting change were obstructionists, unwilling to change. My experience with high school staffs in Summit County and at the University of Denver suggests teachers are just the opposite. Although they found that change was difficult, staffs in both locations took significant measures to deliver education differently.
Summit County staff implemented a mastery learning program. Both groups raised the lowest passing grade for students to 73 percent and 80 percent, respectively. Block schedules of 90 minutes at Summit County High School and 135 minutes at the University of Denver High School were approved in order to provide better educational opportunities for students. At D.U., the staff implemented a curriculum based on a problem-based learning approach. The staffs were willing to take such significant actions because they were directly involved in the adoption and implementation of the programs and decisions.
Benevento and his original colleagues, deeming themselves educational experts, failed to involve teaching staff in any significant way - thus, resistance at every step. Hopefully, a change in the board's attitude will continue to evolve, either with the current four-member majority accepting the will of the community as indicated in the last election or by a better-informed, more astute majority being elected at the next opportunity. The impending community survey, especially the nature of the questions asked and the use of the results, will give us a better idea of the current board majority's intent.
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