Three men who were willing to risk all for an important cause. How brave will we need to be to transition our schools into the 21st century? Are we willing to go all in?
- Martin Luther King, Jr. – Time Magazine
- Nelson Mandela – Paying The Bribe
- Mahatma Gandhi – MANAS
Interesting that you blogged this. I was commenting to a colleague today that many teachers don’t make the connection between these strong advocates of human rights and human dignity.
Martin Luther King,Jr. Day should be the beginning of a dialog, not a self-contained unit.
Interesting that for MLK (as well as other “famous days” like Columbus, Washington, Lincoln, etc.) we comemorate the birthday by getting a day off.
A) Shouldn’t it just be a “life day” to remember the life lived? Kids are still made to memorize dates in schools– a wate of time and brain fiber.
B) The American public as a whole doesn’t do anything with these days besides shop or go on a three day weekend vacation.
C) With A + B in mind, at least for kids, wouldn’t the day be better commemorated in school where they can learn and perhaps emulate these lives, instead of a vacation?
To respond to your question, Scott, the answer is a pessimistic NO. It is a NO to high stakes testing, a NO to teachers leaving their jobs in droves to find work that makes sense and is fulfilling, a NO to principals who go back to teaching or leave the career altogether, a NO to parents who decide to home school their children because American education falls short of the ideal they feel their children should have.
It is NO to the edublogging community that embraces technological tools with a frequency that baffles the mind yet remains impotent in the face of needed change, the response is NO to those who would give everything.
It is a simple word, NO. And, YES is so full of possibilities.
YES…to transforming schooling as we know it.
YES…to opening the door to learning opportunities, wherever they are found, online and face to face.
YES…to bringing people together in ways unimagined before, but now possible.
YES…to recognizing the beauty of the contributions are children make every day outside of school.
YES…to edubloggers who report what they are doing in their corner of the world rather than bemoan the fact that it isn’t happening where they are at.
The response is YES to the power of one.
Be YES. Acknowledge, YES, there is hope.
Around the Corner-MGuhlin.net
King, Mandela and Ghandi all led revolutions from the inside of their established societies by mobilizing those who were being oppressed to push for their own changes.
So, if you want to relate those struggles to the school reform effort (and I think the connection would be a huge stretch!), then agitation for change must start with the students themselves since they are the ones who are not being served by the current system.
You could argue that teachers are also “suffering” under the current stagnating education system but I doubt that most educators are dissatisfied enough to advocate for a revolution. A lot could change if they we’re but I don’t see much discontent from teachers – or parents for that matter.
Tim, I don’t know if I’d go far as to equate the struggles of Mandela, King, and Gandhi and their people with the fate of our public schools, but maybe. After all, it is our children’s future we’re talking about. How large does the disconnect have to get before we start looking around for more bravery?
I have often said that the parents are the key. One of the reasons that Karl Fisch and I changed the end to Did You Know? was to prompt adults with children to start asking questions of their local administrators and school boards. If parents start banging on the doors of the school, clamoring for greater relevancy of schools to kids’ futures, it will happen. Not quickly, but it will happen.
Miguel, hooray for the power of YES! You and I are both YESers and, sometimes, NOers. We need both: the latter to create cognitive dissonance and the former to move things forward. Let’s keep trying to empower everyone everywhere who’s trying to facilitate positive change.
Scott, Cesar Chavez is another who “was willing to risk all for a cause.”
The thing those three men had was a vision of the change they hoped to cause. That’s where I think we are lacking as educators: many of us care so deeply about improving (or revolutionizing) the system, but we simply don’t have the vision of what that would look like. What WOULD the ideal educational practice look like?
I’m not sure I have a clear vision of what the ideal education system would be either, but I’m convinced the assembly line process we have now in most districts is not it. Watching my sister homeschool her three kids makes me think public schools should be closer to that model.