I enjoyed this ASCD EDge article that listed and described of number of “sacred cows” in education settings and conversations.  The author included:

  • Assessment
  • Collaboration
  • Communication with Family and Stakeholders
  • Grading Practices
  • Homework
  • Learning Space
  • Professional Development
  • School Schedule
  • Summer School

It’s a good list.  Schooling sure has created a lot of topics for debate 🙂  These topics are also frequently discussed and debated by educators and parents in my Twitter network.

The article also offers an approach to opening up the conversation about these sacred cow areas, as follows:

Questions for School Staff To Consider:

1.  What are the “Sacred Cows” in our school?

2. When do we plan to schedule time to discuss the “Sacred Cows”?

3.  Is it unsafe to address “Sacred Cows” in our school?

4.  What is the protocol for discussing “Sacred Cows”?

5.  Are there “Sacred Cows” that are preventing our school from supporting all students?

It can seem that there are “sacred cows” and elephants in the room for every group, staff, and stakeholder in education.  All “levels” may be faced with them.  I think this list and the guiding questions might be helpful for parent groups and meetings as well.  Talking with parents will lead to insights as to how policies made in many of these areas are affecting students.  I suspect that the sacred cows and elephants are similar and present in those rooms too.  The worry about getting bulled over or stomped on is understandable, but what if you care more…?  Consider this post: We don’t care enough to give you constructive feedback (Seth’s Blog).  Change requires some challenging of ideas, but it can still be respectful.  Chris Wejr captured that well in his post, Challenge Me.  If the cows and elephants are avoided too much, this may be more of a concern (Why schools are in trouble when the most honest conversations occur in parking lots by Dennis Sparks).

Feel free to share any successes with an approach in this regard.