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Learning at its Best


This is cross-posted from the Disruption Department blog, and while St. Louis focused, I believe the coop can provide some insight into some problems I’m struggling with.

It’s interesting to think of community education in light of the issues brought forward by a recent @jessicabock article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

I’ve often struggled with the most appropriate ways to approach our service to our community’s (communities’) families.  I think the difference of our approach is that we listen and provide resources and means, rather than articulating some end we want people to meet.

We ascribe no general “reform” answer, but rather seek to help community members provide more human educational opportunities for our cities students, connecting them with the outside world that befits their talents and intellect (rather than continuing to work in zones of isolation and schools of mediocrity).

Charter schools reflect an attitude that more efficient, or more effective schools can overcome the obstacles our community faces, rather than focusing on individual needs and helping people find the resources they need to thrive.  With Imagine Schools (a for-profit charter school “district” in St. Louis) closing at the end of this school year, we see the reverse trend we’ve noticed in St. Louis the past decade.  Charter school students searching for St. Louis Public Schools as an answer to meet educational needs.

This is interesting because the charter “districts” have in many ways fragmented the role families have in their own children’s education, being that charter schools are less geographically cohesive as neighborhood schools, and less topically cohesive as magnets.

There has to be a more sustainable approach than students being at the fluctuations of what amounts to a “free market” in education.  Students are not customers/consumers, they do not deserve volatility.  They do not deserve to bear the brunt of other people’s risks.

They deserve to take their own risks, and reap the rewards of all the learning that comes along the way.

I would love to hear your thoughts on how we might better meet families needs outside the school building context.  How can the Disruption Department truly listen and create environments that are authentic to community needs, rather than just reflecting some idea that some well-meaning person dreamt in their head?

How can we execute this environment in a way that it is flexible to meet changing priorities, but not volatile like recently closed charter schools?


About mrsenorhill

Director of Innovation, Special Projects @collegeboundstl, Co-Founder and CEO @thedisruptdept, hustling for creation literacy for all; want to cook better.


4 thoughts on “Fragmentation

  1. We do not have a strong or vibrant charter movement in Alberta. I see the same fragmentation in public education and increasingly believe we need a radicalization of the grassroots. I am not talking a violent uprising, quite the opposite. Large bureaucratic, technocratic, and oligarchic institutions and systems are failing. Something new has to emerge and quickly.

    Posted by ivonprefontaine | June 13, 2012, 8:53 pm
  2. A meaningful extended school day/school-by-shifts approach that brings all ages together to learn new media?


    Posted by Chad Sansing | June 14, 2012, 12:04 pm
  3. A colleague and I will be on our way in just two weeks to the 3rd Space Conference in St. Louis to discuss and plan for interventions around the theme of involving cultural institutions of all kinds with students and their schools:

    Dreaming of a large-scale coordinated series of art events at local museums and galleries, to which teachers can write participatory curricula and in which students can take part…working title:
    Gathering Threads, Weaving Community/Recogiendo hebras, tejiendo comunidad

    with exhibits loosely connected to string, thread, weaving, fabric, cloth, costumes, knitting, knotting, etc.

    Fred Mindlin
    Associate Director for Technology Integration
    Central California Writing Project

    “Intelligence is knowing what to do when you don’t know what to do.”–John Holt

    “All that is gold does not glitter; not all those who wander are lost.”–-J.R.R. Tolkien

    Posted by Fred Mindlin (@fmindlin) | June 24, 2012, 6:02 pm

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