“Yeah, but this is how we’ve always done it”
“Yeah, but you’re a different kind of black person”
“Yeah, but she’s too direct for a woman”
“Yeah, but I don’t do technology”
“Yeah, but these kids are difficult to teach”
“Yeah, but I don’t see color”
The infamous “yeah, but….” philosophy is rampant unfortunately around and within many educational circles. This qualifier causes a multitude of emotions to arise within me including anger, frustration, and disappointment just to name a few. When I hear “yeah, but” in conversations especially regarding educational practices, our youth, and the work individuals attempt to do in schools, I now have decided to bottle those emotions and just become alarmed (I mean a large red flag, multiple sirens going off, alarmed) and cringe instead.
Status quo, or the mindset that the way things are is good enough, annoys the crap out of me. If things are good enough, why are there huge discrepancies regarding equity in school buildings, even within the same district? If things are good enough, why are teachers leaving this profession at an alarming rate? If things are good enough, why our students graduating not adequately prepared to become life-long learners? If things are good enough, wouldn’t we see a profound number of successes from the leadership that has been in place for decades instead of a gaping disconnect?
My 4 C’s of status quo in education: Comfort, Convenient, Condescending, and Complacent. People tend to stick with the way things are because it is comfortable for them. It is convenient to go through the motions and do things the same way day in and day out. They can sit back, lounge, and almost robotically go about their day. In addition to comfort driven
work these individuals also seem to respond to new ideas or new voices in a condescending and smug fashion. They dismiss fresh voices and new things with an unfounded elitist attitude and always return to “old reliable” people and practices. It is almost impossible to maintain this mindset and not ooze unwillingness to do and work for something new and grow.
It is so important, especially now, to identify this mentality while continuing to chip away at it. We should not allow those with this mentality to hold back others who want to become and/or create the change they want to see. Our change agents must continue to “fight the good fight,” and not get deterred or sidetracked by those who are mentally stuck in the mud.
Status quo mindset folks have been front and center too long in education. We can and must do better for our schools, I’m calling a spade a spade. True change and transformation happen when an effort is made day in and day out to be and do better. New opportunities should be created and fresh voices should be heard or we will continue to spin like a hamster wheel in our schools. As a veteran educator, I refuse to drink the “yeah, but” kool-aid and will continue to create better educational opportunities for all students and push the envelope. I’m so glad I have connected with quality individuals who also don’t drink the kool-aid but instead collectively work daily raising our chisels to the boulder of status quo.