Wednesday, March 30, 2011

What does it mean to transform our schools?

Right at the top of my blog is the word "transformation". Today I want to spend a few minutes talking about what this means to the world of education.  I am not advocating for education reform or change. Those of us writing for Let Children Achieve believe in transformation. This means we believe that education needs a fundamental revolution in structure and condition.
There is no piece of the current school structure that is working to educate our children well. Dr. Brown's last post outlined in detail the framework of a basic restructuring in education. From teaching salaries down to school lunches and the amount of sleep children receive, how we fundamentally run schools, teach children and support parents and communities must change.
We are not living, working and educating in a world that is delineated by formal and traditional systems, but rather one that is defined by those who can survive and keep pace with the current of social media, marketing and innovation. Our rigid school structure does nothing to provide opportunity for that kind of "thinking outside the box." Test scores do not and will not ever determine innovation, creativity and social media skills.  Students must learn to be intrinsically motivated and be able to form relationships to build partnerships around the world.  The isolation our children receive sitting in front of computers, tests and televisions does not encourage self motivation or develop important social skills they will need in order to build businesses, solve problems, weave well rounded political decisions or make important contributions to the global community.
 A new advocacy must come forth that stands for the needs of the children.  It is an advocacy that takes into consideration that we have entered an era in which the United States must actively compete for business and innovative processes around the world. Unfortunately the answer isn't to compete on tests. The race isn't to the top of our educational system in the U.S.. The race is to the top of the world, where we will not be defined by test scores, but by innovation and business savvy.  Now more than ever our children must learn the power of their own intrinsic intelligence and ability to connect with others.
When this approach is applied to education we will see children who are fed well, educated well and given multiple avenues of ultimate success within our educational system because we will understand that all of us are tied to the success or failure of today's students.
Children will not be limited by language, by intelligence or by socioeconomic standing. Instead, we will provide a system that meets the student with the tools that student needs to be prepared for life.  This will undoubtedly vary from community to community, from culture to culture, but our choice to accommodate only one version of intelligence in our structure for success will ultimately lead to our own economic and global demise.  We cannot compete in a world as diverse, innovative and fast paced as ours using the archaic system of education we currently embrace.  It is time to for transformation.

1 comment:

  1. Meg, I love this: "Test scores do not and will not ever determine innovation..."

    Truer words have rarely been spoken! Threats do not produce innovation, especially where children are involved.