Education Reform: Moral Imperative
I have had the opportunity to work in public schools for the past 13 years and I have absolutely loved it. I will teach again, and I will always put 100% of my energy towards representing the students and their best interests. Over the past couple of years our project-based learning or problem-based learning program partnered with over 100 businesses & organizations in the community. I asked all of them (and others) what they thought students need to learn, while in school, in order to be successful in today's changing world. The answers were always the same. They would say:
1. Technology - how to use it...and not just for selfies, tweeting, and texting.
2. Know how to LEARN - in this day and age, the amount of facts you have memorized isn't as important, instead it is more important that you can learn new things effectively and efficiently. Learn how to learn!
3. 21st century or soft skills - communication, collaboration, critical thinking, creativity, ability to ask good questions, etc...
|I feel like I'm taking crazy pills" - Will Ferrell|
I am confused. None of these critical skills are emphasized in schools or required by local, state, or national standards. Why? It is for this reason that I have decided to take a year of leave from teaching to help initiate and inspire change in education. Other skills that I would add to the list of things we should teach include the teaching of INTEGRITY, CHARACTER, HONESTY, PASSION, and COMPASSION. With the high divorce rates, suicide rates, anxiety rates, I think it is time for education to start acting like we are teaching young PEOPLE and not just acting as a minor leagues for the college/career world, and trying to program a bunch of robots.
This is why I started implementing ComPassion Based Learning and I am very passionate about this concept. I am focusing my efforts on education reform. I am hesitant to use this phrase, as education reform has become a joke over the past couple decades. Usually this is associated with political agendas meant to make the politicians look good at the expense of schools, teachers, and students. Maybe it is more appropriate to call it education transform .... because it is a complete transformation that is needed.
I love hearing insight from the community. The opinion of everyone in the community is so important for education to stay relevant. I am sick of pet theories from PhD's dictating the agenda for education. Why don't we start asking the people involved? Talk to the community, the parents, the students. Our education system has come across as extremely selfish and ignorant. Despite exponential changes in the real-world, the education system has been completely stagnant. The schools are often viewed as brick buildings with locked doors. Nobody is welcome in to offer their expertise and suggestions because "education knows what they are doing". I am done believing that. It is going to take feedback and insight from everyone to determine what our students need to be successful in a future that we cannot imagine. We should start by treating them like people and not pawns in a fictional power struggle.
What are your thoughts? What do you feel that we need to prepare students for the future? Am I crazy? Do I keep fighting for change? If you disagree, I would love to hear your opinions. I have an open mind and actively continue to seek what is right for the students. Now, I will just have a little extra time to figure it out.
CALL TO ACTION: DO SOMETHING.
How can I help you? Honestly? How can I help improve the education that students are receiving? Are there people I should talk to? Are there lessons you need created? Are there tutorials, professional development, or resources you need? As stated in the beginning, I am taking a year or two off of teaching. I am not; however, taking a year or two off of education. I will be moving forward with 100% effort. I will be passionately doing everything I can to empower students, improve education, and help assist those who are also trying to improve education. Please let me know how I can help you!
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