The Blah Blah, Blah of Education Reform

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Location: Virginia, USA

PostPosted: Thu Apr 03, 2008 5:28 pm
PostPost subject: The Blah Blah, Blah of Education Reform
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Listen to this NPR "Tell Me More" radio segment about Education Reform, Study Calls the State of U.S. Education Into Question. hosted by Michelle Martin. After you listen, see if the following thoughts have the ring of truth.

Today’s challenge in Education is a great as was the world’s need for a clock that could measure Longitude during the Age of Discovery. Right now, we may as well be on one of those ships, blind but hopeful about the destination, but likely to sink. We are locked into the narrative we heard today that seriously suggested it would take a whole generation before we really know the effects of NCLB! Wait a generation? Apply those words to the Civil Rights struggle of the 1960s. They ring hollow. They are an excuse. In a generation, we will lose every advantage, fail millions of children, and the country,

Discussions such the one today are devoid of passion, resigned to the status quo, focused on details in an unjust law, instead of its damaging effects. When you consider the birthrights of children—to play, to move freely, to express and imagine—standardized learning is as unjust and inhumane and as harmful to our country as the tragic laws and policies of racial subjugation and relocation.

The truth is we have surrendered our creative will to professionals whose job is to oversee the Testing and Accountability infrastructure; people called educators who do not possess the passion required to re-invent a learning culture steeped in sameness, conformity, and control. We have locked America’s most precious assets into a mind-numbing system.

The arts, paid lip service daily, are dismissed as an amusing irrelevance by most teachers who are largely discouraged from developing arts-based approaches that brain scientists have said for more than a decade are key to engaging the emotions and the curiosity of children of all ages.

I know these words are harsh criticism of a system filled with dedicated and hopeful people, but that system keeps kids down and teachers down. This factory model will one day, if we are lucky to rise out of it, be viewed as abhorrent and repressive. That view, I believe, contains more truth than those we heard today. I would be pleased to discuss this view further with you. As a reform pioneer, my work in play and communication has evolved culture-changing strategies, elements, and models that could not only change the face of education as we know it, but also free it from its self-imposed economic chokehold it suffers from as a result of its own inability to commit itself to the exploration of innovative solutions.

With more people like me in active pursuit of innovation in education, progress would not be measured in numbers, and, instead, would arrive not in a generation but swiftly on the wings of cultural change. If you allow me the opportunity to speak with you, I promise to change your view of education, and provide you with writing on the subject that could change your definition of the word and possibly lead to new words needed to frame and examine what to be sure is our greatest national emergency.
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