Friday, November 01, 2013

Does public education hold back better students?

There are two approaches to educating millions of students; deal with them in groups or deal with them individually.

It is tradition to deal with them in groups; of up to thirty or more children with nothing in common but the year of their birth and their zip code.

It is tradition to spend significant energy and resources in an effort to form them into thought choirs that will learn together for twelve years.  They all will learn the same things, at the same time, by the same methods and references, and at the same speed for twelve years.  Even if it were possible, why would you want to?

I think it's fair to say that public education will continue to try apply group solutions to individual learning problems.  The approach flies in the face of the mission; creating independent lifelong learners.

If creating independent learners is the ultimate goal, why is it not the immediate objective?

Why isn't the first priority of public education to create independent learners at the earliest opportunity?

I have looked at the agenda, link, for the fall conference of the Council of the Great City Schools.  I don't see where any of the education experts are discussing individual educational pathways for every student.

They are content apparently, with cemetery seating as the setting for the bulk of the work they do.  This despite the self-evident constraints cemetery seating and learning "choirs" place on independent learning for "different" learners.

photo Mark Bralley 

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