Stand Up or Shut Up

New Rule – Stand Up or Shut Up

John McCain’s death has prompted a thought for the nation AND educators. His masterful response to a woman during his presidential campaign, his speeches to the Senate, and his farewell message give me hope that others will follow by his example. It is not that agreed with him on many issues and I respect his forthrightness of beliefs and tenacity for standing up for his values.

We need more educators to stand up and be honest about our problems and issues facing our country?  As a former principal for over thirty-five years, I tire of the denial, negativity, and alibis that try to explain away our problems.  This is the DNA of dysfunction.

A quote by Dante Alighieri seems appropriate, “The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in times of great moral crisis, maintain their neutrality.” I believe too many people have either given up, remaining silent and/or pretending to not know what we already know about learning. Actually, Carl Glickman wrote an article about this over twenty years ago.  Stand Up and say what we know works.  Stand Up or Shut Up.

Recently two authors have been explicit about values.  One, Stan Slap, who wrote Bury My Heart in Conference Room B, talks about values.  Stan gives an accounting of how he got his values on page 83.  He also guides us through an exercise to do our own search. Two questions he asks:

  1. What are your top three values?
  2. How did you get that value?

In addition, he tells the story of Florence Taylor on page 182.  READ IT.  It is one of the most powerful stories I have ever read.

The second source of inspiration comes from the book, Principles written by Ray Dalio.  It is a long read and he writes extremely valuable lessons on how he guided Bridgewater Investments through good and bad times by clearly focusing on being:

  1. radically open-minded
  2. radically transparent.

There are valuable lessons throughout the book. A quote by Ray Dalio is, “Everyone has at least one big thing that stands in the way of their success:  Find Yours and Deal With It.” Amen.

A third source of inspiration comes from Angeles Arrien who passed a few years ago.  I am grateful for her guidance and being able to learn from her.  Her quote is:  “If your job is waking up the dead, GET UP, TODAY IS A WORK DAY.”

So, New Rule, as Bill Maher says, Stand Up or Shut Up. Either stand up for what is right, what is just for ALL students and make the school the place that helps accelerate kids to success or SHUT UP.