Wednesday, September 29, 2010
The buzz keeps coming to this
That's what my life has revolved around for the vast majority of it. Currently, money is pouring in from those who have it to make the system better, often by challenging the system with a new system. We implicate families, poverty, teachers, unions, etc. as entities to blame, and I question where government and institutions of higher education see themselves in the construction and reconstruction of failing schools and arguments. My environmental degree is at the heart here: how are we sustaining ourselves environmentally, economically, academically? Failure in schools tends to equate to failure in society and failure costs money. We can't afford NOT to think deeply about the future.
The public system was (and I envision will remain) a triumph in American society, but the state of affairs is that students can't learn all they're capable of, teachers can't teach all they're capable of, and schools can't function as well as they're capable of, because we have not been creative enough with how we approach learning. We're good at developing tests to measure what we're doing, but I'm unsure if we're critical enough of how the tests that have washed out both teaching and learning. A nation of test takers does not a strong citizenry make.
Here, I will champion the karma and beauty of the Brown School as I knew it and as it is known to students today. Diversity. A mission of shared values. Small size. Vision. AND the flexibility to teach every student as an individual, first, before they are seen as a percentage for test-driven data is a formula for success.
Or, at least that's how I perceive it. In the meantime, we all should be talking about what we're doing: this includes questioning the role of government, its educational agencies, and the ways higher education defines knowledge. At some point we have to be able to stop and say, "Are we really being practical?"
This is a short post on an enormous issue. I can't give it justice, but I can give two cents on this blog and that's what I just did. I would have had three cents but my nephew swallowed the third penny.