(Building on this post.)
From a New York Times article on Anne Holton, Vice Presidential nominee Tim Kaine’s wife:
Ms. Holton later enrolled in Open High School, which allowed students to create their own curriculum and did not give grades. When asked to pick an activity for physical education, she took up clogging. When assigned to research her family’s ancestry, she presented not the names of distant gentry, but the names of slaves owned by her great-grandparents.
This a woman who eventually ended up at Harvard Law where she met her future husband.
But how can that be, that someone can go to a school that says to students “you create your own education” and doesn’t give grades can end up at Harvard? She must be special, right? That kind of school experience just can’t be for everyone, can it?
I’m sure it’s not.
Look, no one argues that there are currently millions of kids for which the traditional system simply doesn’t work, doesn’t engage. Yet most of us see ideas as an Open High School as a risk to becoming “educated.”
Seriously, what if it were the other way around?
The way we think about what an “education” should be is just a current best guess at meeting standards and outcomes using methods that policy makers and businesses are heavily invested in and loathe to change. Happily, that guess seems to, finally, be up for more serious debate at increasingly higher levels. But it still dominates.
There’s a lot less risk than we think when it comes to doing education “differently” instead of better. The greater risk may be to stay the course.
(Photo Credit: SpaceX)