It seems that mostly every one that I talk to about education these days thinks it's time for big, big changes. It probably is. Things are always changing. Sometimes for the better. And sometimes not.
I'm including here some thoughts I shared with an esteemed acquaintance who is at the forefront of creating educational change in the district where I used to teach. She's onto something good. And... well, here are my thoughts on the topic:
"I am very interested in your project. I do believe that education needs a big change. And, I think that there are more effective ways to change education than trying to create an entirely new “look”.
I believe this revolution must start with the human element in the education world. We need to empower teachers and return to them their authority and creativity in the classroom. We need to create responsible students by giving them responsibilities and holding them accountable, at every opportunity.
Until we, as a community and nation, address and work on these foundational elements, I feel we’re spinning our wheels. Research has shown that money and technology are not the primary influencers of student engagement, learning, growth, progress, and advancement to higher levels. The human connection is. One teacher who really shows a kid who he or she is and how amazingly capable and competent they are trumps all kinds of technology and fancy textbooks and school building layout and scheduling options, etc. etc.
One teacher who really GETS IT. One teacher who really cares. One teacher times as many as there are in each school building. One teacher times as many as there are who go through education degree programs at universities. One teacher times as many as there are who sign contracts to teach children in an educational setting.
And then, education will change."
We sometimes forget that teachers are people, that they themselves are educated, smart, and capable of making sound decisions. When we legislate the way curriculum must be scripted and taught only by that script, what the h*#! are we doing to our teachers? Good grief. Would we script a dentist's work on the teeth of his patient? Or an obstetrician's interactions with her patient? They why, oh why, do we do it to our teachers?
Chew on that for a while and then get back to me. I'd love to know what you think.