A friend of mine has a saying about the school I work at: "They think their shit don't stink...but their farts give them away." True enough, unfortunately---but it's only outsiders who seem to smell anything. Most people at the school think the odor must be coming from elsewhere---they like to blame the dog.
As we ranged through a long list of standards for school performance, evaluating whether or not these were things we do or need improvement, it was amazing to listen to the excuses. For example, they recognized that they don't collaborate "to discuss and share student work and the results of student assessments for the purposes of revising the curriculum and improving instructional strategies." Why don't they do it? Because the district doesn't give them any time.
Um...this is the same school who brags about how they don't use the 90 minutes of time set aside every week for collaborative planning. How can you complain about not having any time and then feel proud that you never meet? They also mentioned that they don't have anyone with data team training. Gosh, I've had that and know how to do it. When would you like to start? Um...we weren't really serious about wanting to do that.
For every item that was identified as needing improvement, there was an excuse for why it couldn't improve. Not once was there any suggestion of personal responsibility---or ideas about how to put a plan into action to solve the problem. I never heard anyone take a student-centered stance and inquire what we should do to help kids. By the end of the meeting, a large cloud of noxious gas was hanging above their heads, but very few teachers seemed to notice anything. I guess you just get used to the smell after awhile.