A Game of Telephone

An oversimplified version of legislating change in education:

Special interests, public, political pressure, and current events are interpreted by experts and other stakeholders to build legislation.

Legislation interpreted by State DOE for how it impacts districts.

Board interprets State DOE messaging to impact policy.

Superintendent/C Level interpret Board/DOE messaging to implement that policy.

District staff interprets leadership plan and passes messaging to Principals.

Principals interpret and pass plan to teachers.

Teachers interpret and implement with students.*

Students interpret and execute.*

Teachers hold students accountable.*

Principals hold teachers accountable.

Staff holds principals accountable.

Leadership holds staff accountable.

Board holds leadership accountable.

State DOE holds board/district leadership accountable.

Legislators hold State DOE accountable.

Public and legislators hold legislators accountable.

* – where the magic happens

Legislating change in education can be difficult and convoluted.

When the intent of legislation is to impact the classroom, it is like a game of telephone being played by people who are worlds apart and don’t speak the same language with multiple layers and filters and lenses for the information to pass through along the way. This is not a political argument or notion, just an observation based on years within the system. At every step, there is an opportunity for the message to be changed. At the end of the day, the impact is in that moment of connection between the principal or teacher and the student.