Free and in the south on March 17th?
We have invited educators from across the country to join us in discussing how to free schools from a myopic focus on testing and data, replacing a standardized model with one that allows for the diversity and innovation that this country once valued.
Towards that end, we’ll be asking:
- What would our schools look like if we listened more to students and teachers?
- Where do we draw the line between responsibility and accountability?
- How do we reconnect schooling with our communities?
- Why should we have public schools in the first place?
- Can there be "public" schools without private schools?
- Why, exactly, can’t we have vouchers?
- If not NCLB, then what?
- How do we make that happen?
- We will never have a democracy, or even a representative republic, if we don’t prepare future citizens to be caretakers of their classrooms, communities and countries. If we listened to students and teachers, listened to citizens rather than the powerful, this world would not be as it is.
My question as a teacher to any student, any age: Who are you? Where are we going? How can I help you get there?
From those questions I’ll help you develop your curriculum.
- How ironic is it that we have leadership that refuses to be held accountable for its failures and refuses to take responsibility for its mistakes while at the same time demanding greater accountability from public schools? The issue here is that the domineering, profit-driven, colonialist ideology that drove us to war drives educational reform.
In an effort to create docile hearts and minds, this ideology requires a specific type of schooling, one where the leader speaks and the followers dutifully fill in the blanks with the pre-selected information. There is to be no debate, no questioning, just following.
- On March 17th we’re going to propose turning that paradigm on its head...why not raise children to debate, question, reflect, and then follow, if they believe their leaders are worth following? This "problem-posing" pedagogy would send children into communities, asking their elders, their peers, and themselves what they can do to improve the communities they inhabit.
Math, science, history, literature, intrapersonal skills will all follow.
In short, we’ll be creating critical, engaged, and reflective members of multiple publics, the goal of "public" school. As they stand now, public schools are not public, as private interests dominate public education. This we have documented extensively.
- We should have public schools to help us engender the skills necessary for being a member of the public. We have reduced public education to job skills, though if education were for jobs alone, we’d be better off apprenticing children.
- There cannot be public schools without private schools. There can be no you without an "other" to stand next to. We should support strong public education and a strong private option. We must protect the right of individuals to gather and do things elsewhere in their own ways.
If we cannot support this, then we cannot support dailykos as this space, both public and private, has helped progressives and democrats more than many of them realize.
Should this space be regulated in order to keep the world fair?
- Unlike many Americans, I am pro-voucher, if the voucher covers the full price of the school.
We can’t have vouchers now because 4K covers nothing, and a parent with two children would not be able to afford to use the option. If we raise vouchers to, say, 10K, then we can begin having another conversation about who can use what where.
- NCLB has a stranglehold on language and imagination. If not NCLB, then what is easily answered: Innovation, creativity, integration, growth and development, exploration, reflection, risk-taking, failure, and success.
All those things we can expect from life should be dealt with in our classrooms.
How many times are you going to change jobs?
How many times will you live?
- We replace NCLB with an educational paradigm that fosters trust, risk-taking, critical thinking, compassion, reflection and action by building a coalition strong enough to challenge the status quo from the top and bottom.
That coalition is under construction, and at 26,000 strong, is gaining momentum. We hope you’ll join us in Atlanta to participate in shaping the movement.