Education is a big conversation. The narrative is filled with buzz words: teacher accountability, AYP, NCLB, high-stakes tests, charter schools, and on and on. Sometimes it gets so heady and academic that I believe that no one truly understands what is being said anymore. The conversation has moved so far away from the basic interaction of adults and children trying to do their best together, that to me it is often meaningless.
Thankfully, every once in awhile (and far more often here on the Co-op) people come along and make sense of the jargon and nuances such that most everyone can say, “oh, okay, I get it now.” And then people can actually organize to put worthy ideas to work. Alan Lishness, Chief Innovation Officer at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute, recently did that at TEDxDirigo.
His talk lays plain what Finland is doing in their education system and how we can apply it in places like Maine, my home state, as well as across the United States. He makes it so clear that we are headed in the wrong direction that it demands a national “time out” in our conversation about education reform, a hanging of our heads in humility, and starting over with a fresh set of values and frames for the conversation. I sincerely hope this happens and ask that you please share this talk far and wide, in addition to discussing it thoroughly below.