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Learning at its Best, Philosophical Meanderings

A Positive Vision of a Transformed Education

All over the world children are starting school for the first time. Their eagerness and excitement is infectious. The joy of learning is in every ounce of their bodies and souls, and they will soon be joining a community of other children, as friends and playmates. They want to learn, play, and create. They know nothing of aims or outcomes, nothing of grades or learning tracks. They just want to run and jump, discovering and exploring what the world has to offer. They know nothing of the purpose of education, because learning is has been their life since birth.

All over the world children are starting school for the first time, at schools where their eagerness and excitement is essential and cherished, schools that see them as vital members of the learning community along with their teachers and families, schools where every member has a voice and participates in making the school democratic and authentic. These schools are designed with the children’s uniqueness and energy as their guides. They support and embrace the many holistic ways each child learns. These learners spend their day in independent and interdependent engagement and meaningful learning adventures, that emerge from their interests and questions and are guided by their growth and development. The flexible curriculum and environment are rich in experiences that support physical, social, emotional, spiritual and academic development.

All over the world, children are starting their first day at the thousands of learning communities, that are designed as if they matter. These learning communities look nothing like the schools of the past, where learning and life were separate and were only attended in one’s youth. Many learning communities are not schools at all, and are as diverse and unique as the people they serve. They provide a living and learning environment that helps to develop and cultivate personal growth, authentic relationships and a balance between personal, communal, and ecological well-being. These learning communities help to meet the complex and holistic needs of an inter-generational community for both their present and future life with happiness, empowerment, and passionate active inquiry.

These types of learning communities don’t just happen, they take thoughtful cultivation and intentional design.


Every day we are presented with news stories, and countless blog posts presenting a negative narrative of the state of learning, education, and schools in America today. We talk about outcomes and test scores, about accountability and rigorous academics, about drop out rates and bad teachers.

We are really good as a nation about voicing what we do not want and what is not working, yet we spend little air time presenting a story of what we do want.

While these negative narratives helped to rally educators, students, parents and communities to stand up together and try to reclaim their voice in education transformation, it has not helped us move towards a positive vision of what education can be.

As we stand up to rally on the steps of city hall or at the Department of Education, or at school board meetings or state capitals, let us rally for a Transformed education, for a positive vision of learning, for education and learning that matters.

Let’s use our energy and our coming together to OPT IN to what we want our education to look like, and start to collectively vision both locally and nationally towards these visions.

What is your positive vision for a transformed education?



12 thoughts on “A Positive Vision of a Transformed Education

  1. Here is such a place, born out from a similar vision, but it only exists on paper.

    How do we create mass hysteria for alternative learning environments

    Posted by Tim McClung | February 28, 2012, 11:03 am
  2. Thanks, David. Right on. I’ll be sharing this post with a few friends! Love you, man.

    Posted by Paul Freedman | February 28, 2012, 11:38 am
  3. I will try to be brief. We all read so much.
    These are in random order.

    1. Education should be led by educators.
    2. The DOE should be a facilitator to help districts share ideas and programs that have been proven to work and teach kids to be educated citizens who will do more than take tests.
    3. We should really look at Finland’s success.
    4. We should apply successful tactics based on years of research on learning styles, gender differences, and subcultural impact.
    5. We should finally recognize that learning takes place in and out of the classroom and incorporate more experiential learning throughout the curricula such as the WISE program for HS Seniors, ( that allows students to understand how they can succeed in the world beyond the classroom.

    Posted by DCG Mentor | February 28, 2012, 11:41 am
    • have you shared your thoughts with your students, with your friends or fellow educators. I think you will find that your vision is shared by many, but so many have yet to articulate are own visions.

      Could I ask you to find some time to share your vision with some people next week and share back your conversation, either in the comment section here or as a guest post…. (email me, for a guest post)

      The same challenge goes out to everyone here. Personal visioning is an important first step, but sharing that vision helps to create the will to move towards them.

      Thank you for sharing!


      Posted by dloitz | March 2, 2012, 2:43 pm
  4. Talk about timing..Just saw Seth Godin’s new Manifesto about education

    He writes “Dedicated to every teacher who cares enough to change the system,
    and to every student brave enough to stand up and speak up.”

    Posted by Tim McClung | February 28, 2012, 12:05 pm
    • I am glad that Seth Godin is using his popular voice to spread the word about education transformation. But I also encourage everyone to spend the time to find their own manifesto, creed or vision for education. One of the most important things I learn this year is that we need to look to ourselves first. We live in a world that works hard to tell us that we “need” others to be experts, wise and be leaders, but in truth what we need is less leaders and more people who finding their voice and their vision, finding the energy to speak up, to take action, to make change.

      what would your manifesto be called, what would the preamble announce to the world?

      Posted by dloitz | March 2, 2012, 2:49 pm
  5. Nice D. Thank you!


    Posted by Kirsten | March 2, 2012, 2:31 pm
  6. Education needs to transcend what we perceive to be a formal education. Going to college won’t help you if you dont know what to do in your life and enjoy doing, and not just for the next 4 years.

    Posted by Cinque McFarlane-Blake | March 2, 2012, 3:46 pm
  7. Reblogged this on 4loveormoney.

    Posted by 4lom | March 2, 2012, 6:34 pm
  8. I love your vision! And thank you for encouraging positive ideas; the negativity in this debate can be wearying. I blogged about my ideas for a transformed education system recently as well. My points in sum:
    1. Begin by calculating the amount of money our districts and states spend on test preparation each year.
    2. Reduce our class sizes
    3. Meet kids’ needs, even if it means breaking the rules.
    4. Create individualized learning plans for every student.
    5. Honor teachers who think outside the box
    6. Add more meaningful parent-teacher-student conferences

    Of course on the post, I go into more detail. 🙂

    Posted by gwynridenhour | March 4, 2012, 1:49 am
  9. Bravo, David! I completely agree that we are doing too much finger pointing and digging into what hurts us rather than expending our energy creating a positive vision our young people can thrive in. Coming into a collective vision for a nation is a difficult and daunting process, but the time has come for those of us who hold a vision to begin to make it clear and reach as many people as possible. This means going outside of the regular paths we walk where those who are passionate about education and reaching people in genuine dialog about what might be possible to create together. A few years ago, New Zealand conducted thousands of meetings to learn what the collective wisdom of the people was saying. This was coalesced into a new vision for the future of education with high schoolers.

    I deeply appreciate your call to refocus our lens, to take up the positive, future based outlook.

    Thanks for your insights.

    Posted by Charles Kouns | March 13, 2012, 11:05 am


  1. Pingback: March 1st Day of Action for Education Transformation Blogger March #occupyeduM1 « Cooperative Catalyst - March 1, 2012

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