Culture Change is Here
How we educate and treat our children determines what we want our societies to become. To change the world, we can begin by changing our schools, into the human-friendly, creative, collaborative, supportive venues they need to be. School reform is not about working around the edges, tinkering with the numbers, talking about the details; it is about reimagining and reinventing the entire structure, so ALL children get a chance at an excellent education.
The 21st century demands world citizens who can navigate an environment that is global, immediate, interconnected and intellectually complex. That means our schools must become faster, leaner, smarter, more collaborative, and more attuned to the GIFTS each child brings to the schooling process. School is not a numbers game, but an opportunity to shape the future for every child--and our global future at the same time.
This requires new thinking about what school can become, a NEW VISION that builds a new consensus to influence public policy.
HUMAN-FRIENDLY SCHOOLS, not factories.
CREATIVE & CRITICAL THINKING, not "standardized testing."
COLLABORATION & SYNERGY, not politics.
School must become a place where we light the intellectual fire within each child and, in one generation, transform our world into the vision we each hold in our deepest dreams.
Read the details of this “manifesto” in our campaign document, “Change The Schools.”
John Lennon was one of the world’s cultural heroes, as an artist and as an independent thinker. Schools must give us many more john-lennons of all genders, colors, and sizes, more thought leaders to show us the way . . . .
This is the face of the future: global, ethnically diverse, creative, tuned in to the needs of people and the world. In this second decade of the new millennium, everything changes: political structures, social contexts, human interactions on personal and institutional levels, economic systems. We are on the cusp of a new era of human progress, and this is our opportunity to get it right . . . .
A Message from India
"The future is unknowable and cannot be predicted. A child who joins school today will retire in 2065 and can be expected to live up to the age of 85. The challenge for schools is staring us in the face." These are the words of Lt. Gen. Arjun Ray, a decorated leader of India's school improvement efforts and now CEO of an independent international school in Bangalore.
Gen. Ray believes schools should have a social objective to play a worthwhile part in the progress of the 21st century, with a "new literacy" that includes competencies in "higher purpose and vision, how to be creative, how to think critically, and how to be lifelong learners." As Gen. Ray sees it, "Schools should, therefore, look upon themselves as agents of change and not as repositories of knowledge."
Linda Darling-Hammond, the Stanford professor who originally advised President Obama on education issues, says today’s challenges require "motivated and self-reliant citizens and risk-taking entrepreneurs" who have a new set of abilities including solving problems, working in teams, creating, innovating and criticizing, reflecting on and improving performance. These new expectations, in turn, require a major shift in schools, away from the recall and recognition--simple, low-level abilities--that form the basis of our testing programs.
An Australian science exam, and others that Dr. Darling-Hammond cites from England, Singapore, and other countries, involves a wide range of skills, assessing student competencies in such areas as research and analysis, understanding of ethical issues and principles, lab practices, organization and communication, and understanding of biological and chemical systems.
These are called “rich tasks,” assessing a range of authentic work based on an entirely different approach to teaching and learning--richer, deeper, more purposeful.
(See test question examples in this “Message from India” article.)