It’s important to understand the past; history holds many lessons that apply today. We must examine the present and own up to the fact that our educational system is broken and cannot be repaired with Band-Aids or silver bullets if it is to serve all of our students. We must be willing to think outside the box, to envision public education that truly prepares all students for life. This vision provides the ingredients of opportunity for kids in every socioeconomic status, every locale, and every ability level. It demands excellence in the basics and allows options for many definitions of success.
This vision can be realized but we need to re-purpose our “education” dollars. We must make education about the students, not a one-size-fits all curriculum, not a single high-stakes assessment, not teacher evaluations, or data based on marginally meaningful measures. We must understand that education cannot be a race down a superhighway to a single destination, where those with the fastest cars win. Rather, education is a lot of roads to many destinations to be determined by students’ interests and talents. There are major highways leading to big cities and high profile careers. There are industrial and manufacturing meccas where engineers and scientists will find themselves. There are windy country roads to quiet places where the spirits of the Longfellows and Rockwells reside, where farms and ice cream makers flourish. These are all essential to our future, and all inter-connected.
The posts in this blog address many of the issues inherent in public education. The reader is encouraged to comment and become a part of the discussion on this important national crisis. You can no longer stand on the sidelines and say “this doesn’t apply to me.” Now that you have made it, please take your responsibility to give back seriously. We are all in this together. Our future depends on your involvement, insights, and ideas that will help to rebuild a robust educational system that will insure a bright future for America. It’s time for the chalkboard to fall and a new paradigm to become a reality.
The author of this blog began teaching in 1969, with experiences from upstate New York to Mississippi to Massachusetts, at every level from kindergarten to college. She holds a master’s degree in science education from Cornell University and a PhD from Purdue University. Her PhD afforded her to the opportunity to work in cancer research and related positions in corporations large and small. She recently retired after ten years in the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education where she worked in the Offices of Instructional Technology and Math, Science and Technology/Engineering. She is passionate about providing opportunities for everyone to be successful.