At the Cooperative Catalyst, we spend a lot of time talking about what we think the right kind of education looks like and more often what it doesn’t look like.
I just read this short article on a movement to create Fair Trade Oil Standards and it got me thinking of what fair trade education would look like.
The debate on standard in education is complex. It is easy to BE for standards of excellence, of quality, and of access, and still argue against standardization in the form of tests, curriculum or performance.
The article on Fair Trade got me wondering; are we arguing against standards or being given standards to follow?
What if the standard where not given to us from above, but instead collectively gathered and voluntarily agreed to be followed. We have tried to do this at the Cooperative Catalyst with our Pledge to Students and Learning. Is this enough?
While I cringe at schools and education being likened to businesses, educators are in a “trade partnership, based on dialogue, transparency and respect” with students and their learning.
Can we as educators and schools pledge to a level of fairness and honesty? To principles and rights of the student and the educator? Can we collectively pledge and still allow for the unique local differences of each learning community?
Do we as society have the faith and trust to allow for this type of organic system of self regulation? If not, what would we need for this type of system to succeed?
I believe there is power in coming together around a basic premise and a set of ideas and holding ourselves and others to these types of standards.
Could this be a way to change the conversation that has been led by the “Superman Reformers” against teachers and schools? Could we bring the standards to the policy makers, and allow the self-0rganizing revolution to build to a fair trade education that is driven by the people, for the people and the planet?
How can we promote our pledge or one of the many great ones already written?
and many more! add them below!