Oct 24, 2016

Calling for an Education Revolution – Part One

This entry is the first in a three part series calling for an education revolution.  It is called “Stating the Problem, because identifying the problem is the beginning to a solution. 

“The work of the school is determined by the needs of society.” 
-Francis Parker, educational pioneer

Stating the Problem
I have a theory.  Our current educational system is broken.  It is simply not meeting the needs of our world.  And, it needs a revolution.  Not an incremental adjustment.  

While educators may debate all they want about which is the perfect collaborative learning environment or the best educational philosophy, none of it really matters if we are not preparing our students for a world that is already in steep decline.  We live in dangerous times.  And, it is high time we admit it. The problem is not the classroom.  The problem is the world that we live in and how our educational system is not responsive to it.  

The work of the school is determined by the needs of society.  This simple and profound statement by Colonel Francis Parker is not just a personal favorite, but also has deep implications for today.  The last time I checked, our world has severe problems.  It’s been nearly a decade and a half since the publishing of the book High Noon by Jean Francois Rischard in which he outlined major issues of planet, people, and policy for the year 2020.  Here is my simple interpretation of these issues. 

Problems of Planet >  Global warming, biodiversity and ecosystem losses, fisheries depletion, deforestation, water deficits, and maritime safety and pollution.

Problems of People > Poverty, peacekeeping, conflict prevention, combatting terrorism, education for all, global infectuous diseases, digital divide, and natural disaster prevention and mitigation.

Problems of Policy > Reinventing taxation for the 21st century, biotechnology rules, global financial architecture, illegal drugs, trade-investment-competition rules, intellectual property rights, e-commerce rules, and international labor and migration rules.

If these are the issues of our times, and I am sure there are many more, how are we reimagining education to fight against, solve, and move beyond them?  There are so many discussions in our field about how education needs to be rebuilt based upon what educators think is the best model.  I am more interested in what is going to work to transform our world.  


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