Why are the mandates of NCLB so difficult to swallow… but yet a rather analogous challenge put forth in the Apollo 13 clip below is resisted for only a short period, and then finally accepted by all in a flurry of directed action? The 120 seconds below are cinema gold. In this scene, Ed Harris plays Gene Kranz, NASA flight director. In briefing his team on the plight of the Apollo 13 crew, he set forth a seemingly impossible task- a task not one of the men in the room has an easy answer to. Give it a whirl…
Are the differences obvious? I know- these men will perish in short order without immediate, focused, and inspired attention. And yet, aren’t a large number of our kids in a rather similar predicament in this country? I would suggest that even though the “time to ultimate disaster” factor is far more lengthy… the answer is still yes. And really, it could be argued that this is why we ended up with NCLB in the first place. Discounting some of the more fringe and nefarious stories as to the origin and ultimate purpose of NCLB, I’d say that it is a fair assumption.
So yes, I would argue that there are parallels here. However, the enlightened but small pack of readers here (those folks who would ever wade this far into my drivel) likely have pretty strong opinions as to what the differences here are. Care to share a few? It reminds me of the efficacy of sports metaphors in learning situations. Though they almost always seem to fit in the beginning, they nearly always fall flat in practice. Nearly always. Why? As a wrestling coach of nearly 20 years, I can attest to the allure of the sports metaphor. However, there is usually a rather simple reason they fall short. In athletics, there is nearly always an authentic, relevant, agreed-upon performance event at the end which drives all action. So far, in US public education, we’re tried to build that same situation from the end->forward, and well… as you know, that has thus far been a trainwreck by most measures. As of where I sit right now, public education in America seems to be in deep need of authentic relevance and inspiring leaders. Or is that inspiring relevance and authentic leaders?
We’ve tried the “building brains through business” model. When do we say “nice try” and let an educator take the helm? Actually, that previous statement likely just branded me a “fundamentalist” in some ways according to page 64 in Dr. Anthony Muhammad’s Transforming School Culture. Now there’s a curveball. Apparently I’m no longer as progressive as I had once thought. Perhaps I shouldn’t have read about what Muhammad calls the “Old Contract/New Contract” so that I could remain a progressive agent of change for the better? The last chapter I read was just seemed a bit too coercive to me from a leadership perspective.
The bottom line on my mind today? Gene Kranz was unable to accept losing an American in space. Yet we’re certainly “losing” a ton of Americans in our classrooms every day. These are simply slower, quieter deaths. Is the current coercive, CEO-headed model capable of delivering the reform we need before it is too late? It certainly looks as if we’re going to find out.
To me, this movie clip is an awesome example of a very inspiring and seamless transfer back and forth between loose/tight leadership. We could spark deep conversations about leadership on a fistful of points from this two-minute clip alone. In your day to day work- which of the characters here remind you of yourself?
II. If I could only find…
Ever need the perfect movie clip to make a point? Ever want to pull out just the right moment of cinema to glue all eyes and minds in one room on the same moment? Isn’t it cumbersome to wade through two hours of video when you only need two minutes? Find it frustrating to go through all of the the technical hassle in editing a clip from a DVD? Not quite sure about how to abide by copyright in such situations? Did that just sound like an ad? What a salesman. I think that’s probably why I stopped highlighting most webapps/services on this blog a while back. I tend to do that on more local basis now in my district or building. I have easily ducked any sponsored spots here from a philosophical standpoint.
Back to the slick little plug. I like this site. So if you need a film clip a few times in a year, well then…
“Houston… we have a solution.”
As an upstart web service, Movieclips makes this process rather simple. Here, you can search through movies, genres, characters, actors, etc., to find just what you need. If you aren’t finding that perfect clip just yet -keep in mind- the site is very new and is in the process of uploading tons of new clips each day. The quality is rather amazing as well. However, showing the clip at full screen resolution directly from the site allows the clip to be seen in all of its widescreen glory… far beyond the quality of most YouTube clips.
As is typical of most any “Web2.0” app, you can comment on clips, share them out via link or embed, or simply click one button to share out via a list of the most popular social avenues such as Facebook. Think this might be useful in some small way in your world?
The truth is, I came here to share a nifty little webservice. I got distracted by leadership, schools, and a challenging day.