Overhauling Education: If Not Now, When?

I recently published this piece on how to revamp education. Hit the link below.

For me, the key is not what content we should offer to students of all ages and stages. The key is not what tests we need to give to students of all ages and stages. The key is not what particular class sizes we need to have for students of all ages and stages.

Instead, it is about what values — goals and aims — education can and should provide/achieve for our students.

We have tended to be so siloed in education. We have tended to be so discipline-focused in education. We have been so unwilling to see education as a pipeline where many folks are educators and education is not just what happens in the classroom.

The piece in CoFounders Town cited above sets forth the key variables that we need to have in any quality educational system. How we get there matters way less than that we get there. Lots of pedagogy works and different pedagogies work for different students. Context and culture matter too.

Here they are in sum (described in detail in the cited article and not in this order):

  1. Development of a love of learning;
  2. Recognition of the need for and importance of civic engagement;
  3. Appreciation for cultural differences and the need to treat all people with decency and kindness;
  4. Understanding of data and its collection and use;
  5. Valuing beauty in whatever the form;
  6. Respecting our planet and the need to preserve it for generations to come;
  7. Willingness to innovate and explore and take risks and be curious;
  8. Enhance self-reflective abilities to understand better our feelings, thoughts and behaviors;
  9. Development of fundamental skills needed to navigate life;
  10. Acknowledge wisdom and its value;
  11. Belief that we all have the potential to contribute to our world; and
  12. Importance of helping each other bring our best selves to the proverbial table.

Here’s the point. Education is a mess now. It is fractured and it is leaving many students at all ages and stages behind. There is lots of blame to go around. But, there is opportunity now to do things differently, to rethink how we educate and about what and why.

My question is a simple one and change in education is not easy: If not now, when?

Author, Educator & Commentator; Former President, Southern Vermont College; Former Senior Policy Advisor, US Dept. of Education; Former Law Professor