We are living and working in a playground battlefield.
In response, we need to make our classrooms sane places, where evidence of joy, learning, community, excellence, and authenticity are self-evident. We need to make our classrooms places where the cause-and-effect of what we do logically interrelate inside and outside the room – where learning isn’t a false scarcity and school isn’t a dealer’s showroom. We need to become first, second, and third followers of the public schools assessing students’ work instead of only analyzing students’ scores.
How do we do it? A million ways per child. The ways that work and make sense and make meaning. The ways that solve-problems and connect fulfillment with failure, stamina, mastery, virtue, inquiry, reflection, and action. The ways that promote community, democracy, empathy, equity, stewardship, and citizenry. The ways that allow complex student behavior to emerge from the long shadows of rote recall and uncritical compliance. The ways that champion justice and nuance at once.
We’ve invited our children to the audience of their own education.
It’s time again to attempt what is right, if not expedient.
Learners are not just consumers; this year – and every year – we must treat ourselves and our students better than that.