A High School Senior's Ideas on How to Reform the Educational System Essay

A High School Senior's Ideas on How to Reform the Educational System Essay

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Who wants to read yet another dose of “how to change our schools” given that everybody thinks they are an expert on the topic and the debate, if it can be called that, has been mired in the stagnant swamp of politics? Well, to answer my own question, not many people who have a life! My hypothesis regarding the plethora of well-intentioned (95% of them anyways) misguided, ineffective reform plans is that none of them really consider four variables that are crucial to any new effective reform efforts. In their simplest forms the three considerations are:
1. A failure to honor the fact that our students, and especially our seniors, are socially and developmentally different beings than were their predecessors of a decade and more ago. We must also recognize that, in most cases, our seniors are developmentally different from 9th and 10th graders yet we largely have the same rules and treat them much like we treat a 9th grader. (e.g. we require them to have a bathroom pass when they live in worlds where they already have to figure that out in context. )
2. Our failure to recognize that our schools must reinvent a learning culture of rigor and competence with both specific and general expected outcomes. This reinvention must cast aside the old conventions of accumulating seat time and gathering Carnegie units as the measures of learning.
3. We must address the long-term economics of education with as clear an eye as possible, which will require the absence of the hysterics, the political posturing, and the narrow self-interest of many of the change advocates and power brokers.
4. It is becoming increasingly evident, at least to some of us, that we are entering the “digital age” and that most of us over 25 are going to roll our eyes ...

... middle of paper ...

...this proposal envisions students accessing new technologies, accessing new knowledge in a variety of ways, and making crucial decisions about the efficacy and utility of what they are learning.

In the end, all of us who are talking change in schools need to be constantly mindful and vigilant that the changes we propose are founded on what we believe students need, not what we believe adults need, not what is politically savvy and not what is the reform flavor of the day. But this is difficult, while for all the hard work most educators I know devote their lives to, it is smart hard work that we need. Smart work that is encouraged by risky innovation, smart work that listens to the learners and is focused on what students really need, smart work that looks to the future rather than checking students’ indigenous experience at the front door of the schoolzeum.

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