“The standard is the standard.” Pittsburgh Steelers players probably have nightmares over that quote because it seems to be a go-to for their head coach, Mike Tomlin. But as I’ve started student-teaching I find myself questioning where the line in the sand is drawn, how unclear can we let it get, and how often can we continue to let people skip back and forth, let alone taunt us from the other side? Just to forewarn you, this blog might be all over the place and I’m usually not an emotional writer, but I just had to get these thoughts out in the open.
When I look at that quote from Coach Tomlin through my coaching lenses it makes complete sense. Whether you are new or old, rookie or veteran, player or coach, we will not be lowering expectations on account of you. Pretty simple right?
Presidents, CEOs, and managers all over the country are looking for something similar as well, people who will run their businesses efficiently and effectively. In both cases, if you don’t cut it, thanks but no thanks. For the upper echelon of NFL organizations (right now I would say that short list includes the Packers, Patriots, and Steelers) owners and coaches have no problem getting rid of players that don’t meet their expectations. In the same breath, top companies like Google, Apple, and Amazon won’t hesitate to fire employees if they are not doing their job to the best of their abilities, meeting deadlines, or exceeding quotas.
The question I pose then is why are our standards falling so much when it comes to education?
I don’t want to make this a data-filled post (even though I could, let’s be honest the numbers are out there to support it), I guess I’m looking for suggestions/answers and trying to generate dialogue.
The timing of this Super Bowl could not be any more perfect either. The New England Patriots (who I simply hate because my Pittsburgh Steelers continue to play the role of little brother in the relationship) are trying to win their 6th Super Bowl since 2001! Let me repeat that, this will be their 8th appearance in the last 16 Super Bowls, and they’ve won 5 out of 7. Taking a shot in the dark here, it seems like our country, without a doubt, loathes the Patriots (unless you jumped on the bandwagon when they only had 2 or 3 Super Bowls or claim you liked Tom Brady when he was at Michigan). As the old saying goes “Ya hate em’ cause ya ain’t em’!” Despite your position, I firmly believe the level of their success can really only be defined by one word “expectation”.
While there are portions of our economy that are thriving and reaching all-time highs in innovation, wealth, and population, there are still major areas where we are suffering. Marriages, for example, the quality of work being done from 9-5, and as previously mentioned our education system is spiraling down the staircase.
As a young basketball player growing up in the W.P.I.A.L, I looked up to the name Tim McConnell, head basketball coach at Chartiers Valley. For a couple years I went to summer camp at a park not too far from the high school and had the chance to play basketball with my counselors, a few of them were kids who just couldn’t cut it in his program. I remember them talking about how mean and demanding he was and although I never played for him, I got to see it firsthand. In an article from 2016 featured in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, it hails Chartiers Valley as the team of the 2000s. McConnell has coached a record 15 players to 1,000 point careers and has an overall record of 544-132. There’s no doubt he takes his program seriously. I often find myself curious as to what those teams would have looked like with players on them who didn’t buy into the system, live the culture, drink the Kool-Aid, whatever you want to call it?
Education systems have records to you know? And as of lately, it seems that in America, we’re putting our premiums in other places. Should we want to continue to bend ourselves over backward for students so they can barely slip into their graduation seat only to get physically mauled by the real world, whether it be college, the job force, or entrepreneurship? While that might be the first vent session posted to Absolute Power, I would love to hear your thoughts on the matter (regardless of you’re profession).
Seriously, I’m looking for answers!