Speaking with Dr. Schmoker reminds me of how many competing pressures teachers, administrators, parents and students feel to achieve or master so, so many skills and tasks. Dr. Schmoker helps us take a step back and reevaluate what are real priorities. During this dialogue, Mike shares his wisdom around how to create a coherent curriculum within teacher teams, he provides his ideas around how simple authentic literacies truly are, and also gives us permission to focus, focus, focus. In other words, he illustrates by simplifying and focusing on a smaller number of shared goals, priorities, and values that we would do dramatically better in the way of student outcomes. This is a principle shared and confirmed by volumes of studies and research, including the work of Michael Fullan.
Throughout my experience in the classroom as well as in leadership, I know I have always felt a sense of constantly tumbling in an avalanche of expectations, standards, tasks, and more. Mike uses the word shock to describe what it feels like to enter the classroom for the first time. I want to share his message because I believe focus is one of the critical shifts we need to make in education and as parents if we want to truly make a difference in the lives of children.