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Learning at its Best

Bowl of Wishes for American Education

Photo by elizabeth of course flickr

Does wishing have power? Is there danger in wishing? Are some wishes more worthy than others? And what about the ancient link between suffering and desire?

We had an education party at my house recently.  The room was filled with high school students, activists, graduate students, policy makers, academics, deans of education, teachers, writers, and administrators.  At the end of the party we asked folks to make a wish for American education.

Here are some of their wishes, from the bowl of wishes they created…

“I wish that schools will embrace the arts, creativity, and alternative models.”

“My wish is that we leave the punitive/threatening language of a Nation at Risk, NCLB behind and become a Nation Inspired by activist organizations in education.

“I wish government will organize large-scale conferences to pull together the multiple NPOs to share objectives.”


“That students experience joy in school.”

“My wish is for better school systems all over.  There needs to be a change not just in MCAS but in all aspects.”

I wish for a day where students can feel that their voices are heard and they have an influence. Also that all students have a mentor to support them and encourage them.”

“My wish is that every child in our country experiences the opportunity to think, problem- solve and innovate.”

“I wish that we mend the broken relationships in our communities, in our schools, and in our homes.  That we work to build relationships of care and respect between young people, their parents, and educators.”

“I wish all students would feel valued and connected in school.”

What does it unleash to wish? What does wishing clarify?

What’s your wish?

About Kirsten Olson

I'm writer and educational activist. I work in public, charter, private, unschools. I'm here for the learning revolution.


4 thoughts on “Bowl of Wishes for American Education

  1. I wish that adults working with kids made the difficult decision to follow the kids rather than other adults – and that I could do this more consistently.

    How did you decide to have an education party and how did you organize it?


    Posted by Chad Sansing | November 28, 2011, 8:21 pm
  2. Wishing is the seed we cast into the future. And we need hands full of seeds to scatter at every turn and on every kind of ground. We must not lose heart that the seeds will not sprout. The generosity of our spirit will serve as the rain and sun and earth and air that the seeds need to sprout and grow. I wish for freedom for our students to follow their passions in a way that leads to mastery.

    Posted by tellio | November 28, 2011, 9:51 pm
  3. I wish there to be a great deal less “educating” and much more facilitating/assisting.

    Posted by Brent Snavely | November 29, 2011, 6:24 pm
  4. On the long train ride from status quo to transformative change, wishing is a way to hop on board and a place from which to begin the journey. Wishing releases us from stultifying pragmatism for a moment and allows for unbridled idealism. This mindset can be the wellspring for making previously unseen connections. It allows us to privilege creativity, imagination and insight. Let’s write down and say aloud what we really wish education could encompass. This will ensure that we are not riding the rails towards petty reform, but instead to radical transformation. I’m all for wishing!!

    But just one? I thought you always got three in the historic literature on the subject. Tough economic times, I guess 😉

    Okay, here’s one: I wish there were no bells in schools, and that once engaged in a learning experience, a learner could have as much time as he/she wanted to stick with it, and explore all its complexities and depths, irregardless of time constraints.

    Posted by Paul Freedman | December 1, 2011, 10:29 am

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