No Roadblocks to Bloch’s Lessons on Education

The number of e-mail pitches I get for potential BizVoice stories or topics is growing each day. Most national "latest and greatest" ideas go by the wayside. We tend to pay closer attention to what is going on inside Indiana. But here’s one that definitely caught my eye — and it appears it could help the many involved in trying to improve education outcomes.

The person is Tom Bloch, former CEO of H&R Block (his father was co-founder and the family changed the company name to avoid mispronunciation). The book title is a bit intimidating: "Stand for the Best: What I Learned after Leaving My Job as CEO of H&R Block to Become a Teacher and Founder of an Inner City Charter School."

A few of the lessons:

  • Order and structure are key, often counter-balancing an otherwise unregulated, unfettered environment. "No matter what structure you design and follow, students will be more likely to learn and succeed when they know exactly what to expect each day."
  • Set high standards and maintain them. "School, like life, should be a real-world experience," emphasizes Bloch. "Low expectations promote low performance. Social promotion does kids no favors; it doesn’t prepare them for the real world."
  • Insist on parent involvement. There is simply no substitute for parental involvement in a child’s education, he says, with contracts required at his school.

Bloch also offers: "The challenges of teaching require a rare breed of teachers," he says. "They must be multitalented and multitasking. They must be professional managers and law enforcers. They must be surrogate parents, therapists, mediators, cheerleaders, caregivers, judges and more. And yes, they must be educators, too.

"Teaching is not just a job — it’s a calling. And I have a word for those who manage not only to endure but actually to thrive in this environment. That word is hero."

Learn more about Bloch. No, I haven’t read the book, but the early thoughts are intriguing.