The Definition of Insanity

Every week, I watch a local Sunday show called What’s Your Point #WYP.It’s your typical several-talking-heads-and-a-host (@GrooganFox26) format for the Houston, Texas market. This last week, the entire focus was on education. Pleased to see a back-to-school feature, I settled in with my first cup of coffee.

I soon became frustrated hearing, again, about the lack of academic progress and the seemingly constant excuse-making for failing to educate the children of my adopted hometown. Institutional and community memory is a funny thing.

The Houston area seems to have forgotten that once upon a time, amazing results were seen at a cohort of majority-of-color (93% black, 6% Latino), low wealth (99% FRL) schools in Houston ISD

A simple Google or Bing search for the terms below will leave you asking, “Why did it end!?”

Google or Bing:

  • Rodeo Institute for Teacher Excellence (RITE)

  • Wesley Elementary School Houston

  • Thaddeus Lott

Even better, I’ll give you a running start. Read this article by the Hoover Institutediscussing the story of Dr. Thaddeus Lott and Wesley Elementary School. University of Houston Distinguished Chair Dr. David J. Francisand Assistant Research Professor Dr. Colleen D. Carlsonpublished a paper on the outcomes of the RITE project in the Journal of Education for Students Placed at Risk. (You may need your librarians help to get access.) 

The programs and pedagogy that created great outcomes at Wesley Elementary and the RITE schools are the academic underpinnings of the current success of IDEA Public Schools here in Texas. 

I know that there are still teachers and consultants that taught and provided professional development in those schools. I know because I have worked with them. I know them. I respect them. And while we are much older and grayer, we’re still around. We remember. 

If you really want to reach and teach every child; if you have no racism in your heart and believe that every child deserves a high quality education that leaves them prepared for the world of work they will enter, do the research. Then do better, because you know more.