I wasn’t tagged in the “let’s stop pretending…” challenge thrown down earlier this week. There have been some amazing blog posts born from this challenge, all with suggestions for how we can #makeschooldifferent. I feel I have very little to add that hasn’t already been said. But as a self-proclaimed loudmouth, I rarely pass up an opportunity to add something to the conversation.
I only have one item on my list, so we’ll just call it an “addendum”, if you will, because I can’t possibly match the amazing-ness of the full-blown lists offered already by my talented colleagues.
Can we please stop pretending that “standardized” belongs anywhere in education?
School should be a place where we identify and celebrate each kid’s unique talents. It should not be a place where we try (and fail) to make every kid fit the mold. Our society has many needs. To fulfill those needs, we need lots of people with a wide array of skills. Can we expect to produce confident individuals who make up a diverse workforce if we offer one-size-fits-all education?
Everybody is good at something. Instead of allowing students to feel like failures because they aren’t good at school, let’s make school for each child what he/she is good at.
The following words are from the second verse of Jackson Browne’s, “The Pretender.”
“I want to know what became of the changes
We waited for love to bring
Were they only the fitful dreams
Of some greater awakening?”
I feel like this generation of students, deserves an answer to that question. Instead of coming to a place where we recognize and nurture their special gifts, they are met with standardized curriculum, standardized assessments, and standardized expectations. And when they don’t fit the standard, they leave our halls feeling dejected and “unsatisfactory”.
School is and should be a place where hopes and dreams begin. Unfortunately, for too many students it’s where hopes and dreams begin and end.
The only thing about school that should be standardized is opportunity.