Saturday, February 12, 2011

The #Edreform Paradox

I write a lot on this blog. I thought it would be beneficial to me to summarize some of the key issues I have been wrestling with. Here is what I have come up with:
  • Schooling and education are not the same thing and are often at odds with each other.
  • Instruction does not necessarily beget learning but it did for most of those who instruct.
  • Technology has changed what it is learners need schools for.
  • Policies are shaped largely by those who needed schools to provide something different for them in the past than they are needed for learners now.
  • Policies shape what schools do and provide and dictate how we measure their success.
  • How we measure a school's success determines what gets taught and what gets cut.
  • What schools do and how they are assessed often lead to a confusion between what makes for good instruction and what makes for good learning and policy mandates this condition.
  • Therefore, the actual purpose of school and the purpose most people believe it is for are not the same.
  • This disconnect leads many to misuse technology in schools, turning them primarily into instruments of instruction and control rather than aides to learning.
  • Those who enter into the business of schooling will likely come from the ranks who were rewarded under this system and thus perpetuate the cycle driving the wedge further between schooling and education.
  • Is there any way to break this cycle?
So, what am I missing from this list? Does this line of thought hold water? Or, am I way out in left field here?


Pam said...

What we look for in classrooms and what we think we see does not reflect the reality of what children experience.

ART-tivist Mommy said...

Great thoughtful list....I read an article about how Teach For America folk end up in large # is in the business end of education.....


doug0077 said...

Hi Carl,

Great list. I might add that the unspoken mission of schools is to maintain societal order and divisions, not foment change.


Mrs. Tenkely said...

I think the only way to break free of this cycle is to inject passionate educators who want this to change. The second part of that is pulling together those educators into a unified voice for change.

Prayer Adventures said...

And then there is the question of money. They system is governed by individuals who largely don't comprehend the scope of technological change that we are encountering. Which is not a dig, it is a fact. Most of us don't comprehend the speed of change. When under stress the systemic fear reaction is to revert to archaic and often fundamental (i.e. testing, those horrible textbooks from Texas). These are the people that hold our teachers' jobs in their hands and I'm sure fear has riffed more than one outstanding educator right out the doors and into more profitable private sector work. What happens when advocates of reform stand up and change the wind that blows through Washington and our state legislatures and school boards? What if we ask them to take seriously the work of some of our schools that have become laboratories of ed. reform, and not just view them as quaint fringe experiences? Yeah we need teachers to join voices, but you also need voices who can speak without fear of retaliation.