Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence

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Problem-Solving: Delivering Will Require Mobilization

So, I’ve shared my excitement about problem solving in our science standards, our social studies standards, and our standards for an array of other disciplines. There’s one more thing to look at head on: these exciting expectations aren’t going to be easy to meet.

Delivering will entail assignments where Kentucky students can build up each of the skills.

Delivering will also require deep investment by Kentucky educators. It’s not just about designing the assignments and implementing them well. It’s also about checking student work carefully for evidence of what is and isn’t working and revising instruction to move each student forward. It’ll take energy, creativity, collaboration, and flexibility in each of our schools.

And, clearly, delivering will also take interest and support from the rest of us. These will be huge changes for students and educators, and they need to feel our support. Especially, schools may worry about tradeoffs between hours spent on this deep work and hours spent on the smaller skills that count on our state assessments.

Look, I know we want both: big problem solving and better reading and math as measured by the small tasks found on standardized tests. Of course we do.

The thing is, the kind of work that is tested offers schools specific recognition on state accountability. How can sustained work to meet our bigger, bolder problem-solving expectations compete with that incentive?

As citizens, we can answer that question. We can bring our schools our support, our price, our excitement, and our commitment to this kind of work. We can build the local will –We can BE the local will – to equip our children for science-based, problem-solving futures.

Building that local understanding and will is one of the best things we can do for our current students and our rising generation of builders, creators, and problem-solving citizens.