We are born into communities, we choose communities, and we support communities that foster our humanity and growth.
My running assumption is that communities are like families, but transcend the blood ties that we inherit. In a community, we are all brothers and sisters who have the same vision and the same values - if not the manner in carrying them out.
You might ask why I believe that community is somehow an issue with the public school system. I would answer in the affirmative.
There is a new movement in public education that is called "Professional Learning Communities." It was created to connect teachers within a grade level or department to help them work well as a team. This teamwork, I believe, is necessary. I remember when I first began teaching in 2002 and felt like an island unto myself where I had to produce lessons and assignments independently of the veteran educators who could be of assistance to a rookie teacher.
The Professional Learning Communities (PLC) movement is the cure to this sense of disconnect among educators of all ability levels. Department and grade levels collaborate in PLC meetings on a regular basis and they meet to find ways to make the grade for our students and our schools.
The pursuit of professional growth through using best practices and proven practices is most beneficial to educators as they make the best use of their time, talent and treasure for the common good.
I like to begin my criticism with an inventory of the good before I list the 'deltas' - or areas where I believe can be improved. I have three deltas with regard to the darker side of the PLC movement: