The emporer has no clothes
A child, however, who had no important job and could only see things as his eyes showed them to him, went up to the carriage.
“The Emperor is naked,” he said.
“Fool!” his father reprimanded, running after him. “Don’t talk nonsense!” He grabbed his child and took him away. But the boy’s remark, which had been heard by the bystanders, was repeated over and over again until everyone cried:
“The boy is right! The Emperor is naked! It’s true!”
The Emperor realized that the people were right but could not admit to that. He though it better to continue the procession under the illusion that anyone who couldn’t see his clothes was either stupid or incompetent. And he stood stiffly on his carriage, while behind him a page held his imaginary mantle.
excerpt from The Emporer’s New Clothes by Hans Christian Anderson
Remember that ole story?? I always felt that way when we were called to an administrative meeting and “asked” our opinion about a new program, policy, or procedure. After the first time burned, you learn to keep quiet. It’s just like someone asking “Does this make me look fat?” Do they really want to hear the answer to that. Yeah, only if it’s the one they want to hear.
I really like the man I worked for. I could see how he could become frustrated with some of us and at times all of us on his administrative team. I just always felt sorry for him, because I really wanted to be able to tell him the truth, but I just liked my job too much. I had seen what happened when someone really tried to go against him. It just didn’t work out. Suffice it to say that one of the people is gone,and the other always says, when asked about his opinion, “What do you think, Mr. Boss?” One learned; the other didn’t. The one that didn’t now drives a truck. I don’t think it’s because he can’t get another job. I think he was just tired of the BS and not feeling comfortable using brain power to help the organization.
Let me tell you about the incident where I learned to be quiet. We were all summoned to the administrative offices for a meeting about a program that was supposed to be able to keep track of all our test scores, tell us what to teach to reach the weak objectives, and also project what students would score on future tests. It was a reputable firm with some research to back it up, but was basically still in the testing phase. We would have been one of the pilot groups. Most of the other schools were from New Mexico. and even though their improvements were impressive, we were already scoring higher than they had reached. Where people get suckered is looking at the point spread of improvement without taking into account how easy it is to move from 30% to 70% and how hard it is to move from 95% to 99%. Those 4 points are harder than the previous 40 points.
Anyway, we listened, and we were polite. At the end of the presentation, we were asked to give a show of hands to vote on the proposal. One of the two “questioners” what I like to refer to as the emporer’s courtiers, asked if the person doing the presentation would leave the room so we could have a discussion about the program. He was very polite, and she willing went out for a soda.
The discussion was basically about whether we needed the services or not and how much did they cost. It appeared that no one wanted to tell us that, but it is hard to evaluate a program without knowing what it’s going to cost. Oh never mind – we’re in lala land. Finally, the bigger courtier said, “You give me (meaning his school) the money that you are going to pay them, and I’ll guarantee an increase in test scores. The other courtier who was big, but not as big, said, “I’m tired of people from out-of-state, that are not familiar with our test and are scoring lower than we are wanting to sell us a program that will supposedly help us.” Well, that seemed to be the tipping point. The Emporer started turning red, beginning with his ears. (That’s where it always started.) He spoke loudly, determinedly through clenched teeth, “We will be implementing this program, and you will like it.” Guess what?? We did.
Now, how many people do you think tracked those students that we got the first information on through three years of testing to see if the “predictability” part of the program worked. Me. Guess what?? It didn’t. It was just hit and miss. I could have predicted the failures myself and so could every one of the educators that dealt with those students. The problem was the lack of people, facilities and time to work with them.
I hate to tell the world, but the true answer is a small group with a good teacher. It doesn’t even have to be a great teacher, just a good one in small group settings and time to do it. I have seen that success time and time again. And that doesn’t mean giving up art (which we never had) or music. There are many things we could do. Move athletics and agricultural activities outside the day. If you wish to participate in them come at 7:30 and start the academic day at 9:00. Have a big brunch at 10:30 then let the academic day end at 2:30. At 2:30 the other activities could pick up, such as art, music, theater, more athletics, club activities and end at 5:00. During the academic day those students at risk need groups of no more than 5 for the basic subjects – reading, writing, math. They need an aid for groups of five for their science and social studies to help them with understanding what it is they are supposed to be doing and make sure they get started doing it. It’s the only way to save them, but I have my doubts that we really want to save them. 90% of students don’t need this. They have a support system at home, or it just comes easy to them – I don’t know, but it works for them. Those other 10% are our social burden of the future, and what I can’t understand is don’t we realize how much more expensive they are later than when they are young.
Oh well, the emporer has no clothes and no one can get through to him. All the emporers continue to walk right down the big middle of the street just naked as the day they were born. And we follow right behind. Hell, some of us would take our clothes off just to be a part of a team or just to get our paycheck. I always needed my paycheck.