Look, I can get to why schools look and act the way they do. They were built to do a certain thing…“educate” every child…at a certain time when folks didn’t have a lot of easy access to “quality” content or instruction. It was a monumental undertaking, and regardless of the fact that the founders of the system wanted to create factory workers instead of problem solving, creative, collaborative, lifelong learners, I have no doubt that a lot of people (excluding John Dewey) thought “yep, this is the best thing for the kids in our society. They’ll all get an education if we line ‘em up and nudge them through, and we’ll all be better for it.”
Or something like that.
But now the premise has changed. We’re getting more and more easy access to “quality” content and instruction (if we’re literate enough to know it when we see it), and that means that some of those once fine ideas for “getting an education” just don’t fit any more. Many of those old answers are feeling less and less useful when it comes to actually developing learners out of our kids instead of workers.
Yet we stick to them. And I know the reasons are many and complex (it’s what we know and what we expect schools to be,) but I think at the end of the day, we’re loathe to change because it’s just easier this way. It’s not what best for our kids, but it’s what’s easiest for us. (I know…a lot of you are thinking “there ain’t nothing easy about this,” and you’re right. Caring for kids and doing right by them educationally in whatever system we have is hard, hard work.)
But I’m thinking it’s time to call some of these old school habits out and ask, “are we really doing what’s best for kids, or are we doing what’s easiest for us?”
- Is it better for our kids to be grouped by chronological age, or is it just easier for us?
- Is it better for our kids to separate out the disciplines, or is it just easier for us?
- Is it better for our kids to give every one of them pretty much the same curriculum, or is it just easier for us?
- Is it better for our kids to turn off all of their technology in school, or is it just easier for us?
- Is it better for our kids that we assess everyone the same way, or is it just easier for us?
- Is it better for our kids for us to decide what they should learn and how they should learn it, or is it just easier for us?
You get the idea. Add yours below.
So, are we in the business of easy? Or do we want to find ways to do this education thing in ways that best serve our kids given the realities of this moment?