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During “normal” times, I’m not so sure how many critical questions school district leaders need to make that substantially impact what goes on in the classroom. Like most bureaucracies, things just move along.   And, when there are critical questions that need to be answered (perhaps a dramatic change in curriculum, personnel benefits and salary issues) – if those decisions are unwise ones, many teachers can minimize their negative impact on students in our classroom.

The pandemic, however, has created a situation where school district leaders throughout the country – and the world – have been forced to make critical decisions constantly – about health protocols, how to teach students, where to teach them, when to teach them, etc.

Teachers have not been able to “rescue” them this time when they have been bad ones.

Based on what I have experienced and what I have heard from many teachers across the country, the unskilled leadership at many (though, certainly, not all) districts has become transparent in the face of these challenges.  One  common denominator in many of these unsuccessful situations has been that those holding positions of power have seemed to feel like they have been the smartest people in the room, and have not felt a need to seriously engage with teachers, other employees, students and their families.

One of my future Ed Week series will feature contributors from around the country sharing what they think have been the biggest mistakes that districts have made during the past eighteen months, and the lessons that should be learned from them.

Unfortunately, I’m not particularly hopeful about those lessons actually being learned by those who could benefit most from doing so.

In the meantime, however, as I say in this tweet, district leaders and others could learn a lot from reading the replies to the question I put out on Twitter earlier this morning:

Good luck to us all!