I have a dream…

Somewhere along the line, the focus of education and schools shifted the wrong direction.  Schools and policy makers have become obsessed with curriculum, and assessments, and data, and money, and the latest tool for the classroom.  Where is the obsession and passion for creating rich learning environments for every student?  We live in a society where everything is individualized and personalized.  We can get a burger made just the way we want it. We can get computers built to our exact specifications. We can personalize our cell phones with ringtones, wallpapers, and skins. And yet, in this world of customization, one thing that we fail to customize and personalize is education.  Kids enter the classroom and are taught the same way day in and day out. They sit in seats, in rows, filling out worksheet after worksheet and then, they take a test. The programs that do allow students to do something different are being systematically cut due to budget difficulties (P.E., Art, Library, Music). Is it any wonder that when kids are asked what their favorite part of school is, they answer “lunch and recess”?  What does this say about the state of our schools?

What is the purpose of school?  Why do we mandate that our kids be sent to school?  I believe that our answers would be largely similar, to prepare students for the world that they are living in, that they will find themselves living in.  If this is our purpose we must ask ourselves, are we meeting it with our current school structure?  I submit that we are not.  Our students are not being prepared for the world that they will find themselves in, our students are being prepared for the world that their great-grandparents lived in.

I have a dreams of education. I have dreams of the way that schools should look. I have dreams of kids who find their passions. I have dreams of schools as rich learning centers.   I have created Dreams of Education as a place to record these dreams, to act as a dream catcher. I hope that you will join me on this journey and share your own dreams of education.  I have a strong belief that when those passionate about education join together, it will become an unstoppable force. Together we will change the face of education, making dreams a reality.  Dream with me, won’t you?

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16 comments

  1. I’m pretty sure kids are not even being prepared for their great-grandparent’s world. Can you immagine students today being dumped back in time? They would be woefully unprepared for the social & economic differences of that time. What they are being prepared well for ts consumption. Schools do a great job of killing most student inquisitiveness & critical thinking ability. They also do a great job of reinforcing the cultural “want” dilema taught to us by corporate America. Don’t ask questions, buy this to be happy, feed the machine…..

  2. If your blog had audio, you would hear me cheering! Bravo, Kelly!

    I share your dream. I share it on behalf of my husband and myself, both life-long learners, eager to learn until we drop. I share it on behalf of my son who didn’t fit into the state school system. I share it on behalf of my unborn grandchildren who will need all the help they can get to thrive in a rapidly changing world.

  3. Your dream is the same dream many of us share. Thank you (again) for your ability to put into words what my heart feels. Somehow I discovered educators like yourself who continually amaze me and daily give me inspiration. I got to meet one of the people I read daily on Twitter and the look on his face when I told him who I was was priceless. I consider my PLN the greatest group of educators around. Thanks for all you do.

  4. Awesome! I’m with you. I hear the passion in your writing…and I seek to come alongside folks such as yourself. I hope that we can build personalized, customized, multimedia-based learning materials — while turning more of the control over to our students. I would hope that they could identify and pursue their passions — and let these passions drive learning in many areas.

    Daniel Christian

  5. “Why do we mandate that our kids be sent to school?”

    Remember that we do not have a mandate to send our kids to school anymore than we have a mandate to shop at Walmart or eat at McDonalds. People choose to send our kids to school. When people start making different choices, the main force in the marketplace changes to meet those choices. For example, major supermarket chains around here are offering organic food now to stop people from going elsewhere. People/businesses/school don’t change unless they have to. Public schools have cornered the market on “education.” When more people start choosing homeschooling/unschooling/charter schools public schools will be forced to change to keep their customers.

  6. Congratulations Kelly! You have verbalised the frustrations of many, many teachers around the world. “School” is not really a choice for many families, they do not have the resources or confidence to homeschool their children. So families are stuck with what they are given, as there is little choice, especially if money is an issue.

  7. Its not only America. Australia is also trying to squash every child into a mould created to push out clones of each other. This may work for the majority of children but what about those with learning difficulties, disabilites, multicultural backgrounds etc. I have seen several children physically made to hold pencils and forced to write hand over hand when they can not individually sit up or hold a pencil on their own let alone understand what it is they are having to do. Why, because in our school that is what inclusion is… doing what everyone else is doing regardless if it makes any sense or would be any use for the rest of their lives!

  8. I share the dream with you. I strive everyday to find ways to make my school a better and more open place. Since I started my blog, I’ve been dedicated to connecting with teachers and spreading the good word about what education should be and how to get there.

    Change has to start somewhere, and why not here and now?

    -Nick Provenzano

  9. Totally excited about your new blog! And, hooray! Standardized testing drives me crazy. When in my life (outside of school) have I ever had a multiple choice experience? Never. I want my students to be able to think critically, to be able to research, to write to read and understand

  10. I’m glad you called this blog ‘Dreams of Education’ and left school out of the title. Funny thing that word ‘school.’ It carries with it so much baggage & preconcieved notions of what it is supposed to be.

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