"The needs of the society determine the work of the school. The supreme need of society is good citizenship. Ideal citizenship demands of the individual the highest degree of knowledge, power and skill.”
-Francis Parker, education pioneer
I can hardly bare to watch the news anymore. Today is another difficult day in a seemingly endless string of social, cultural, political, and economic issues that erupt into violent, insulting, and divisive behavior. If the recent events in our world don't cause you to rethink our systems and processes for living together as a global culture, I am not sure what will create that moment of reflection.
Francis Parker knew what he was talking about in the quote above. We need to step up as an industry. The needs of society demand that schools step up to the plate, take on a leadership role, and pursue goodness and knowledge. Our nation's excellent independent schools were not created to send kids to great colleges and acquire high paying jobs. They were founded to form citizens that will do the hard work of transforming society. Well, we need a transformation.
Management guru Peter Drucker once said:
"Our world is divided into three sectors: corporate, government, and non-profits. The corporate sector's mission is to create financial opportunity. The government sector's mission is to create policy. And, the non-profit sector's mission is to transform our society. The values and prosperity of a global 21st Century will be largely narrated by the work of the non-profit sector."
Our collective work is critical. I can make a strong case for growth and accessibility of our independent school sector given our current political context. We are uniquely qualified, in this perfect storm of violence and dissension, to bring people together and to provide essential leadership. Our sector needs leadership. And, our students need us.