Sunday, September 4, 2011

New school year, 2011: what's exciting/upsetting.

Another new school year of the Minds of Kids starts today. Short one: what is exciting or upsetting to me right now?


INEVITABLE: Mass Customized Learning, by Bea McGarvey and Charles Schwann. This is one of the best frameworks for an entirely new school model that I have come across. I want it, I want it bad, and I want it now.

OPT OUT of State Testing. (Also on Facebook.)It's not enough to make change locally when the factors limiting what schools can do is national. Find out about the movement to opt out of state standardized testing, and give voice to the movement against NCLB. Testing is not teaching!


A proposed charter school in my Maine district, Rural Aspirations Project. It has made me realize that running on instincts alone is not enough if you want to be an agitator for school change. No matter how good something looks on the surface, you must look from a wider lens to see what impact it will have. Take a look at my previous blog post on this or at my op-ed in the Republican Journal.

There are many more arguments even than those I have already made against authorizing this charter. So let's just change our existing schools, shall we?

The continued dialogue on closing the Monroe School is also upsetting
. While I really, really don't want to close it, I also know that what the building looks like is less important than what goes on within its walls. If we have a totally new model of education, where passion lives in the classroom, I'm all over it and I don't care where it is.

OTOH, we have to factor the distance from home into this picture. The schools are not yet the ideal places my mind hopes for, and how long will it take our kids to get there? And what impact will the distance have on their education?

I don't really buy the argument that the closing of the school will deprive Monroe of a strong community center. I don't doubt that it is true, but there are other towns in this district who don't have the benefit of a school around which their community can center. I'm not sure we can ask the other towns to finance Monroe's center, either.

OTOH, the Monroe building is in much better shape and is physically more pleasing as a center for learning than Morse is. I know that one creates school atmospheres with people, not walls and ceilings, but there is no doubt that there is a huge difference between those two buildings.

So this debate goes on, right in my own head. I wish I could sell tickets.

That's it for now. Let me know of other exciting/upsetting arguments on public education that is going on in your head!

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