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papertalker
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Joined: 14 Dec 2004
Posts: 206
Location: Virginia, USA

PostPosted: Sun Nov 28, 2010 6:30 pm
PostPost subject: Back to the Future of School Reform
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We all invest in education. We all pay taxes.

Parents. Grandparents.
Business owners.

In varying degrees, we all say that we care about education, but when it comes to education, we read the newspaper or read a blog--and that's it. Mostly it’s out of sight, out of mind.

New parents do their best to nurture and prepare their kids, but that 1st day of kindergarten comes fast and most are caught off guard.

Suburban, urban, or rural--- all school budgets are tight. Teachers are under pressure to keep the behavioral lid on their classrooms and get the kids through the curriculum—and the tests.

Today’s parents of school kids—of the next generation—soon find out that innovation is a daydream. Covering the material is paramount (with little room for kids to catch up if they fall behind). They also discover that the ‘school’ they once knew is a much more tightly wound, lock-step factory that their kids now inhabit.

For better or for worse, we all survive elementary school. Some families are lucky to reach 5th grade without so much as a meeting with a teacher or principal—save the quarterly parent-teacher night. Others are not so lucky, and s a family they are fighting ‘a system’ that fails to reach kids struggling with the pressure and drudgery of ‘the teach & test’ learning culture.

While there is little joy in a culture of learning that is truly a factory based on control and obedience, what is even sadder is the fact that bullying, cheating, and desensitized teaching are the norm. No wonder American kids don’t fare too well in the global education standings.

Some believe that our system is the best we have; that kids have to learn to buckle down early. True, we don’t paddle kids anymore, but we control their movement and freedom and force feed them knowledge that they are tested on relentlessly. Although the minds of kids surely choke on the volume of ‘standards’ they must know in order to pass their tests, this is not water-boarding, Instead, you could call this the order-boarding of education. Education by law.

Doesn’t America deserve better? Shouldn’t we be doing better by young people? Can’t we figure out a smarter way to educate kids? We Americans base our system on the German system just before WW!. How come we still use this system when we know it is failing?

The truth is: the system is a culture. A culture is like a spider’s web. If the spider does not learn how to get around the web, it, too, can get trapped in it. A culture cannot be fixed. But it can be changed.

To learn more about culture change, visit Play Tectonics.org
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