Greg Thompson in his post, “The landscape of Educational Culture” has it right. We must re-imagine our schools and end the madness of high stakes testing as well as “standards-based” educational reform. He writes:
We can’t have both. We can’t create a thriving, innovative, creative, vibrant learning environment and pair it with common standards supported by textbooks and assessed by standardized tests. The two ideas are diametrically opposed. To waste time and money attempting to force these two into a relationship would be as futile as Romeo and Juliet’s parents trying to keep them apart. And remember, in the end their kids died.
It is inevitable that students will learn . . . what is not so certain, is that they will do it within what we currently call “school.” They will find a way to generate environments much like the Meebo description – a place where they can thrive and think and explore and truly learn by doing.
Current educational “reform” is a smoke and mirrors distraction. For decades reform has been a series of piecemeal attempts to do the same thing we have always done, just differently. The real question, “Should we even be doing what we have always done?” is not being asked. What we need, is to reimagine school from the ground up, drawing on the truths we have learned about how humans learn. We need to take what we know about the power of environments that encourage and nurture creativity and innovation and not “reform” school, but finally begin to create what can honestly be called “school.”