A coach says to an athlete, “Envision crossing the finish line. . .alone. . . far ahead of any other contender. . . victory is yours. . . feel it. . . taste it. . . claim it.” Through visualization, this athlete grows more focused, motivated, and confident, thereby increasing the likelihood of his or her success.
If you’re thinking, “That is one powerful technique,” you’re right. So, if I’m feeling altruistic, can I just envision an end to poverty or hunger? What about education? Can envisioning work there? The state of Georgia thinks it can . . . sort of.
A Vision for Public Education in Georgia is an initiative developed by the Georgia School Boards Association (GSBA) and Georgia School Superintendents Association (GSSA) “to provide all children in Georgia with an equitable and excellent education that prepares them for college, career, and life.”
Officially sanctioned in the spring of 2009, the effort aims to make a difference for Georgia school children. Those involved in it—local school boards, superintendents, educators, parents, families, and students—envision success, and just as an athlete knows that high performance or mental preparation alone will not win the victory, so do the people engaged in this project.
GSBA and GSSA got down to work by establishing a planning team that further divided its expertise into five key components. One of their first tasks was to squarely call out the challenges facing Georgia’s students, families, and educators, and then identify the processes and procedures that needed to occur, existing best practices as well as promising ones, and any policy and program implications there might be. Throughout 2009 and 2010, with some assistance from McREL, they drafted documents, held focus group sessions across the state, publicly reported on a website whatever they learned and any decisions they made, and by the fall of 2010, they were developing a strategy to consider, adopt, and begin acting on their 45 recommendations Participants in the Georgia Vision Project never looked back.
Other elements contributing to their success are openness, having a shared purpose, and utilizing the best thinking of education experts throughout the state. They currently are holding 16 regional meetings over the state for local superintendents and their boards to share the work that’s been done.
The question as to whether education in Georgia is about to change for the better is not yet answered, but so far, the response to their work has been positive, and the state is poised to see some good things happen in public education. Surely, they needed their vision, but to their credit, they are doing the work.
See the steps Texas took to create a new vision for public education: http://www.tasanet.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=13775&Itemid=925