4 Reasons to Change the Way we think about School by Mary Hickcox
History shows that modern-day schooling started with the Industrial Revolution, but many still refuse to accept that the people who funded its inception did not have children’s education as their main priority. Men like Rockefeller and Carnegie wanted good obedient workers to take the jobs they needed filled. They didn’t want free-thinking students to reach their potential; they wanted a large dumbed-down class, just disciplined and smart enough to show up on time and work their factory jobs.
In a time when our economy desperately needs more innovators, how can we change education to expand the potential of each child? It seems we must do some things we did NOT learn in school: Question assumptions about education; think for and believe in ourselves; speak up against what we know is wrong; and challenge what we’ve been taught to believe is right.
Getting Back to Basics by Alfie Kohn
The first problem is that raising standards has come to mean little more than higher scores on poorly designed standardized tests. The more schools commit themselves to improving performance on these tests, the more meaningful opportunities to learn are sacrificed. Every hour spent drilling students to ace these exams is an hour not spent helping them become creative, critical, curious learners...“The secret to American schooling is that it doesn’t teach the way children learn, nor is it supposed to. Schools were conceived to serve the economy and the social order rather than kids and their families….that is why it is compulsory.” - John Taylor Gatto, NY Teacher of the Year
For us to question the reliance on lectures, work sheets, drills and memorization, we must confront the possibility that we spent a good chunk of our childhoods doing stuff that was exactly as pointless as we suspected it was at the time.
“The education system was deliberately designed to produce mediocre intellects, to hamstring the inner life, to deny students appreciable leadership skills, and to ensure docile and incomplete citizens in order to render the populace ‘manageable.’” — Charlotte Thomson Iserbyt, Sr. Policy Advisor for the US Dept. of Education
John Holt said it well: “To trust children we must first learn to trust ourselves … but most of us were taught as children that we could not be trusted.”
So what is wrong with the idea of Child-Driven Education?