I've been listening to a lot of people in coffee shops, state fairs, and restaurants talk about how taxes are too high, regulation is too high, and if people would get out of the way, their personal economy would be better. I've been a quiet listener without voicing my thoughts on this topic for a long time, and I continue to be on a quest for truth to the answers of these questions. (I think that more of us should be on the quest for greater truth in a number of our economic, social, and political views. It would make for better discourse.)
My thinking in this area has brought me to a couple of questions that I think are key for us to explore in schools, community, and our larger global marketplace. "How will we know when we have too few limits?" and "What will the initial negative impacts be when we fall below the health bottom limit? Truly, what will is look like, feel like, sound like? I have to imagine that there is a bottom limit to removing the "limits" of our society. Often times, I struggle to have meaningful conversations with those that can't talk about the bottom limits of rules, taxes, and regulations in a free and productive society. The social contract of our democracy does mean that we will have some rules, laws, and regulations, but the important question is how many?
Schools should be thinking about this same issue. Do we have too many rules, structures, and systems? It seems like most schools have rules that could be eliminated with no negative impact. Often these structures are historical legacies from leaders past, times past or cultures past, and no one has taken the time to remove them. Certainly, there is a bottom limit for schools to have a healthy culture and program, but it seems like schools are well above their health limits of structures, rules, and systems. Should we be asking our teams, staff, and community about their common desires around finding the sweet spot on rules, systems, and structures in a school?
Only through this type of work can we really create time and space for our teachers to be more innovative, more creativity as unneeded rules, systems, and structures gum up our work to bring excellence to our students.