A Casual Observation of Public Schooling – All Terrain Vehicle or Tricycle with a flat?

A teacher buddy of mine relayed to me how when an item was stolen in the small rural school in which he worked, the principal stopped school, held an all-school assembly, berated the offender (unknown at the time), and then proceeded to take out their religious book and cite related passages to the audience, almost all of whom were of the same religion (my friend lied to the hiring committee when asked about his religion in the interview, or else he was convinved he would have not received the job – a safe bet, it sounds like).

In planning for operations, the US Army planning factors include a study of the Terrain in which a unit will be operating. Specific components are:

* Observation and fields of fire

* Cover and concealment

* Obstacles

* Key Terrain

* Avenues of Approach

How can we relate the planning factor of Terrain into how to approach reforming public schools? Certainly my friend mentioned above had studied the “Terrain” or layout of the “land” in the small school where he intended to gain, and keep employment.

The first component is Observation/Fields of Fire. I like to break down these two into the sub-components, and I’ll explain why later. First, Observaton.

In preparing a defense in the army, you are given a piece of terrain from higher HQ, and told to hold it. You are given a type and number of assets (human, material, etc) with which to do this. You are given an Intel report on the size and type of your enemey, plus an expected time they might come calling. As a leader, you must take stock of what you can see, and what you cannot, and from which vantage points. Are there “dead spaces” that will be outside of your visibility? How will you mitigate this danger? Can you clear away hindrances to your visibility? Who will be observing what, when, how? How will it be reported to you? In the enemy’s approach, how will you see them as they come closer to engage?

The tactical considerations for Observation alone need to be considered before looking into Fields of Fire (assigning your troops to cover portions of the perimeter with fire), or else the two can get muddied. Next post – we will translate Observation into educational terms….

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