I am a strong proponent of public education, but I’ll be the first to say I don’t like the track we are on. What I see is heavily prescribed learning with little choice for students. We can debate which schools have the better teachers and which schools have the best opportunities. But what we need desperately is for every single school to be place where children flourish. We don’t need a choice of school. This just opens up a whole different set of problems. We need consistency in all schools.
ALL schools need to offer
- high quality reading materials
- time to be curious
- a variety topics to explore
- meaningful techniques of expression
- other learners, teachers, experts outside of their school wall
- opportunities to fail
- instruction in how to write personalized action plans
- to hear viewpoints that are different from their own
- a community with shared ideas and plans
- time for thinking and reading and exploring
- independence and some choice.
We don’t need armed teachers. We need places where students are valued – not artificially valued, but where they develop their own sense of worth through hard work and the ability to to set their own learning agenda. The amazing thing is that most schools already have the mechanism to get this started – the library and librarian. All the things listed above can start in the library and with the librarian. Want to radically change education? Ask your school librarian where to start!