Reinvigorating our tradition of liberal education can empower students to negotiate an increasingly complex world.
No! No! We must have a standard curriculum for the entire nation. This is the only way. The best way. The American way.
And then, from the annals of American public education reforms, we find this…. If only we were so brave and rebellious. But then, that’s not in America’s history, is it?
Once upon a time, there was much unemployment, poverty, and homelessness across our land. Leaders tried one thing after another to end these grim conditions. Nothing worked.
In the midst of these bad times, however, a small group of educators, upset over what our youth were learning in high schools decided to take action.
Schools were dull places. Students listened to teachers, read books, and took exams. Schools were supposed to prepare students for life but much of what they studied they forgot after graduating. Worse yet, what they had learned in school did not prepare them to face the problems of life, think clearly, be creative, or fulfill their civic duties. Complaints to school officials got the same answer repeatedly: little could be done because college entrance requirements determined what courses students took in high school.
So to give high schools the freedom to try new ways of schooling…
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To what extent is grading an unexamined process that is part of a system that’s less about learning and more about sorting, stigmatizing, and sickening our children in pursuit of a perfection that is neither attainable nor healthy?
This is the second in a series of posts exploring teaching and learning in the de-graded and de-tested language arts classroom. Read the first post here.
Teaching can be a lonely profession. Even though I come into contact with 120 people every day, most of the interactions are asynchronous. The relationships I have with my students are authentic, and I do my best to build reciprocity and trust, but I’m in a different place than them. The relationships I form with students are also circumscribed by centuries of hierarchical teacher/student dynamics.
On the other hand, my peers and I are on equal footing. But the demands of the job keep a tight leash on what we talk about and when we talk about it. When I meet with my fellow 7th grade English teachers, for instance, we’re expected to follow the district’s meeting template. And when it comes to…
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Amazing work by students empowered to make a change, given necessary guidance, and the time to do quality work.
It’s official, the first edition of Trailblazers, a student driven magazine on the Education Transformation Movement, is here with young writers from around the world contributing!!!! My peers in the Innovation Diploma, Abigail Emerson and Kaylyn Winters, and I have been working at this project all year after some last minute edits over the summer, we now feel it is time to ship the idea and get it out into the world.
So please check out our first edition which includes:
A Letter From the Founders
Meet the Curators: Anya Smith-Roman, Kaylyn Winters, Abigail Emerson
The learner-centered movement: Q&A: Sparkhouse Conference
Creating Something New: Brady Vincent
Change is a Conversation: Neel Pujar
Free Ranged vs. Caged: Kim Mi Yeoh
Intelligence: Cali Ragland
Thanks to everyone who helped make this possible!! Can’t wait for issue 2!