Socratic reform

Earlier this month, the Sacramento school district held a media event to announce that it had completed a strategic plan for reform, dubbed “e21.”

The district’s plan calls for all high schools to be “transformed” into smaller “Caring and Personalized Learning Communities,” which will value “youth voice and youth choice.” It was the culmination of a large amount of research and input culled from students, parents, teachers, administrators and community members. The plan features ideas on how parents and students can “connect” with their education. It does not stress tests or exit exams, so thoughtful reform may indeed be at hand.

The teachings of Socrates and Plato weren’t mentioned among the reform buzz words thrown about, but we think that some critical thinking should have been in order by the district before they hired a troubled principal to run its most troubled high school. Socratic critical thinking requires that relevant questions be presented and examined before any decisions are made, not after. School district officials should note this format builds quality thinkers, not reactionaries. Consensus can emerge.

In our cover story, "The Power Principal," on page 18 we ask some probing questions about the employment background and style of Hiram Johnson High School principal, Andre Douyon. Thinking critically takes time, but it’s worth it in the long run when children’s futures are at stake.