Competency-based initiatives have been around a while now, and to be honest they were sort of something I treated like new math. I’ve been waiting them out. They require a design process change, the require policy change, they require change in the machine…
I was never really against them, but I wasn’t really for them either. Until today. I sort of had an epiphany really about the disservice we do kids when we focus on credits and course descriptions instead of learning targets and goals for competency.
Part of it is probably that I found I was giving some teachers too much credit, assuming they had the same end goals as I did, and so competency basis was happening anyway. Instead today I learned that at least some teachers still think they are teaching subject matter that can and should only be assessed once on a specific day in a high stakes manner. No opportunities for growth and redemption is a punitive system which sows the seeds of hopelessness and fruitless endeavour in our kids.
Competencies offer instead endless hope. Teaching and reteaching opportunities, and a attitude that outcomes matter over methods. They offer a way out of a nightmare for our kids who are most at risk.
So now that I get it, really get it, the question is, how can I help get others off the fence?