Very thoughtful and succinct articulation of the competition between relationships/community and scale/efficiency that we see in education Scott. I have to believe that we can build a better plane….while flying the plane…because, and I don’t think I am alone here, I didn’t get into teaching because I loved metrics, standardized tests, or even curriculum. I loved kids and I loved learning.
I feel as though we are awakening from a period where schools served the whims of industry. This space was created, paradoxically, because industry doesn’t really know what it wants anymore! In any event, it has given us the opportunity to reflect on the question: What is the purpose of education?
The way educators answer this question is, in my experience, at odds with the way government is. This is the struggle for us, in this time, I believe. This is the moment in time when we have a chance to redefine to our purpose and help to chose the path forward.
In my context (Ontario), the government is becoming more and more concerned about mental, physical, and emotional health in our youth. They are looking to schools to provide solutions and leadership, and they also recognize that getting these things right will create ripples that will benefit society in a myriad of ways.
The same benefits (or even economic ones) cannot be made for making gains in our standardized test scores.
As soon as someone is astute enough at the political level to notice that happy, socially engaged, and creative learners can be monetized or turned into political capital, the agencies will get on board.
I guess for me — I agree with you- the government isn’t likely to change the superstructure of education. But they have never had great success in making any kind of significant change, so I don’t look to them for a solution. They are also horrible at accountability, which is why they use such crude measures of academics and economics. The system is, however, made up of thousands of people like you and me. And, if enough people like you and me make the choice to do something, the system changes.
What does this look like at the school level? I think that depends on your group of educators/leaders. I believe that what all such communities will have in common though, is an emphasis on the connections between people and between the school and the community.
Part of my reason for engaging with communities like Medium is my way of sharing the work, struggles, and joys of making this choice.
Thanks for sharing.