Educator Douglas B. Reeves writes:

The Law of Initiative Fatigue states that when the number of initiatives increases while time, resources, and emotional energy are constant, then each new initiative—no matter how well conceived or well intentioned—will receive fewer minutes, dollars, and ounces of emotional energy than its predecessors.

I’ve only taught for twelve years, and I’ve seen lots of “initiatives” come-and-go in that time. I can only imagine how many much more veteran educators have seen!

And I’m sure this kind of Initiative Fatigue is an additional reasons for this finding: Study Finds No Surprise: Only Between 30 & 40% Of Lessons Are Common Core-Aligned.

But here’s what is really prompting me to write this post:

I have been a long-time opponent of high school exit exams – especially for English Language Learners. California made a mistake of introducing them in 2006 and, as a result, thousands of students who passed all the other graduation requirements have had their lives made much more difficult because they didn’t pass one/the other/or both of the English and Math “CAHSEE” tests. A lot of teacher and student energy went into preparing students to pass the test, including a whole lot of test prep. And that is time that could have been much better spent in instruction designed to encourage life-long learning.

I am very happy to see that the State of California is poised to eliminate that requirement. In fact, the state appears to be ready to recognize its original error and waive CAHSEE passage for all students retroactively. In other words, if any student didn’t receive a diploma only because they didn’t pass the tests, they would immediately be considered a high school graduate.

I will be very happy if and when the state legislature approves this change next week. And it will bring much joy to thousands of students.

And I’m very pleased that it appears that our lawmakers are willing to recognize their errors and try to make up for them.

I just hope that that politicians (and private foundations!) here in California and elsewhere use this debacle as a lesson, and start engaging and consulting teachers working in the classroom – and our unions – before they create future new initiatives.

Should I be hopeful, or am I being naive?