Friday, January 9, 2009

The Big Question

by Ron Smith, MLTI/eMINTS Region 3

I was excited to read this article in Education Week outlining Maine’s involvement in an effort to work with three other New England states in examining how to best meet the changing needs of secondary education. The goal of the consortium states:

"The New England Secondary School Consortium aims to create high schools that are "flexible, borderless, multidimensional community learning centers" in which students would have the chance to study at the secondary and postsecondary levels, do research in their communities, build real-world skills through internships, and immerse themselves in technology..."

It’s refreshing to hear educational and political leaders discussing real reform that doesn’t involve increasing the number of and reliance on standardized testing. Perhaps the revolution *is* just around the corner.

In my experiences as a middle school teacher and in working with educators in professional development, I have come to believe a couple of things:

(1) American education is in a great need of a massive retooling. I am not smart enough to really know exactly what American education should look like - but certainly what we have now is not serving our students and society well.

(2) At a time when this real reform is so sorely needed, the direction of national education policy as prescribed by NCLB has totally missed the mark.

I guess instead of dwelling on what’s not right, it’s time for us in the education community to start focusing on what will work for our students. So what are your ideas?

~ Is the New England Secondary School Consortium a bold step in the right direction, or just another empty effort at the illusion of reform?

~ What must K-12 education in American look like?

~ What will be the role of technology?

~ What about accountability - how do we know our students are gaining the skills needed to be successful citizens of the world?

1 comment:

Jim Burke said...

There is a new ning community set up to discuss these issues: