Oversights and oversightby Marc Severson on Aug. 07, 2011, under Education
Josh Brodsky’s article in the ADS about a story that was first broken by the Tucson Daily Independent (http://www.tucsondailyindependent.com/2011/07/tusds-promotoras-ponzi-scheme-costs.html) describes a failed effort to relate social changes to educational progress.
Many will be quick to assume that there is no mistaking the goal of subterfuge and fraud that can be easily interpolated from the facts. Critics will point to the actions of some in this debacle and say they are culpable and even acting with foreknowledge of the results. For this Tired Teacher, bemoaning the waste of still more precious funding, it just points out the great danger that is over and over again demonstrated in today’s financial and social woes.
To quote Mr. Brodsky:
“For those who follow the district, Promotoras’ story is all too familiar: A program starts with good intentions, but there is no oversight. Money gets misused in all kinds of crazy ways, and in the end the students suffer for it.” 1)
Did Wall Street set out to destroy the American economy and fail? Were huge conglomerate banks thrilled that Americans lost all faith in their abilities to shepherd our finances? Did the TEA Party hope to destroy American government by demanding their voice be heard? Did Congress set out to downgrade American credit by prolonging the Debt Ceiling argument (I will not legitimize it with the word ‘debate’)?
For me the obvious answers to all these questions are “No.”
So why did it look as if these things were intentionally meant to happen? Lack of oversight. Not enough people were looking down the road at the possible consequences of their actions.
So many crimes have occurred over the years simply because no one saw the unintended consequences. Damage is done, millions are lost, in the name of good ideas. Old sayings have truth inherent in them, that is how they get to be old. “The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.”
As a teacher I am responsible to plan educational goals for my students. I have to daily review these goals to see that I have properly prepared the student to learn these objectives and that all the necessary prerequisite skills have been taught to ensure the success of my work. Do I then go and teach? No, I meet with my grade level team, discuss my plan, listen to what they have to say and adapt my plans to include ideas they have presented. I also meet with the teachers in levels above and below mine periodically to make sure prerequisites were met and I am providing adequate preparation for what is to come. At least once a week I meet with my administrator to discuss progress and inform them as to my plan.
Even with this oversight I am not always successful. Things still happen that upset the apple cart, derail the train. And yet, I think how much worse could it have been if I didn’t bounce my ideas off others in my field who are knowlegeable and thoughtful.
We need oversight, protection, often even from some of our best ideas.