Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Are we stealing dreams?

I am a visible leader.  I realize that my time to develop relationships with students is during lunch, before school, after school and during class breaks.  During these rounds I often stand by and listen to conversations of students, this helps me to feel the pulse of the school.  This morning as I was doing my usual ritual of talking with students a few students were talking about school.  Their conversation centered around how they couldn't wait to graduate and get out of here.  These comments resonated with me all day today, and couldn't help but think about our latest read on #edfocus.

Seth Godin recently published his manifesto for school reform titled, "Stop Stealing Dreams." You can find it here and it is free to read! Stop Stealing Dreams  Godin calls for a revolution in education.
"In order to efficiently jam as much testable data into a generation of kids, we push to make those children compliant, competitive zombies." - Seth Godin
When I think about those students comments and the way the world is going, are we becoming irrelevant?  My hope is that students love to come to our school, and that they are challenged. We should be instilling skills that will help them in the future not cramming as much testable data into them as possible.  I have asked this question before, can we teach these skills and still make AYP?

Is the system stealing the dreams from these students?

Is it just that time of the year?  Could it be teenagers just being teenagers?  Or worse yet, the truth?

Bill Ferriter asked this similar question recently in his blog, do you make ANY time for skills that AREN'T easily tested but ARE incredibly important? 
"But the sanctity of performance/testing/compliance-based school is rarely discussed and virtually never challenged." - Seth Godin
I feel the current focus of #edreform will only continue to hinder and decrease the joy of learning.  As leaders we are faced with a choice, worry about test scores or focus on 21st century skills.  Currently, test scores rank supreme.  I am fully aware that accountability will not go away, and we must find ways to combine accountability and these important skills.  Until then I hope that these comments were influenced by being just 'that time of the year.'

1 comment:

  1. Great post, Mike. It is the fine line that all educators walk everyday. We need to find the balance that allows our schools to meet accountability expectations, but also challenges and pushes our students to continually learn. More importantly, I think as educators we must cultivate a love of learning in our students for them to prosper throughout their lives. I think we can teach meaningful, relevant, real-world skills and still meet accountability expectations. We can't do both well, though.