(Originally posted on my previous blog on 05/29/06.)
I normally don’t get too involved in public school politics. Most articles pertaining to such seem to me like so many wheels spinning, going nowhere. But this article caught my eye. Not necessarily due to its smacking the LAUSD right in the face; rather because it puts us in touch with a tangible comparison to another situation. Having something to refer to lets us see the hot pot from the outside, instead of using the traditional perspective of a swimmer in not-quite-boiling water.
There are many problems with LAUSD, and with the concept behind modern day public schooling in general. At least, we can pretty much all agree on that point. The evidence is unmistakable. The solution to the problems, however, are not clear cut, they aren’t easy and they certainly aren’t obvious. My personal philosophy is to put education in the hands of the individual – make it available, but don’t require it. But that would never happen, so where to go from there? There’s got to be a way to balance the control desired by the state with the flexiblity and freedom desired by the individual. How can we make public school a true place of learning? I believe we need to change the definition of “education” and change the definition of “success”.
And to do that, we’ll need a cutural shift, not a legislative or organizational one. Will it go that way? Will our culture shift to demand more of an individualized education for each an every child where kids are not required to learn but allowed to express their individual abilities? Will our culture shift to allow for the change in industry and change in lifestyle, where we are no longer bound by the 9-5 and more people are venturing off to work in non-cubical, non-factory work environments? Will there be a shift where people are encouraged to find jobs they love rather than loving the jobs they find, and therefore require different kinds of thinking and learning abilities than are awarded in our modern schools?
Only time will tell. But I know which direction we’re pointing our own kiddos. And, I know which direction I’d love to see education go. Now, the question is, what can I do about it?