|Originally posted on Dreams of Education on March 25, 2016|
There’s nothing sacred about spelling tests as a way to learn spelling, flash cards to learn math facts, curriculum as a way to teach, testing as a way to collect data. There’s nothing sacred about most of what we do every day in education, and yet we hold tightly to these institutions as we make decisions about what school will look like. These constructs have been put into place to accomplish certain goals; namely to get kids to pass a test, have a certain GPA, and go to college.
We hold certain beliefs about education because those who came before us set the ground work for how we operate schools. Those who came before us existed in quite a different reality of what it meant to be educated. At the dawn of industrialization, much of what we see in education probably made sense.
When we consider how to do education better, how to make it more equitable, more meaningful, we often do so from the vantage point of old constructs...
Perhaps the most heartbreaking outcome of the current systematization of education is the way that it unintentionally dehumanizes. Reduced to scores, we too often become pawns in a global game of competition. We seek to be valued while forgetting that we are already valuable. Worthy.
There are a distinct collection of experiences in my own school journey that left me wondering if I was worthy. After educating hundreds, I’ve come to realize that I’m not an anomaly. Every child longs to know that they are valuable. This longing isn’t dependent on social economic standing, family, or history.
It is part of the human condition, this desire to be known and seen as valuable.
In first grade I received the first inkling that I might not be enough. In my school, kids were nominated by their teachers for VIP awards. Each month the whole school gathered in the auditorium for an assembly where students were called on stage and handed...
I never took drivers ed, but when I was 14, my parents took me to a driver safety course. I remember very little of the night but one thing that stood out was the phrase: “look where you want to go and steer in that direction.” The course instructor was offering solid advice for what to do if you hit a patch of ice and lost control of the car. That advice stuck with me and, as I navigate Colorado winters, is something I practice regularly. As it turns out, this has been good advice for education and life as well. Sometimes you have to not only look at where you want to go, but steer in that direction as well. This is how a blog led to starting a school.
I started Dreams of Education on March 8, 2010. At the time I had filled my Google reader to the brim with post feeds from educators around the world. I was being inspired and fed daily by my world-wide personal learning network and yet in the s...