Thursday, March 6, 2014

Quote-A-Day: Day 65

shouldn't be about . It should be about .

We spent the day today discussing where education is, and where we want it to be here in New York State.  One thing that became abundantly clear to me (and perhaps I knew it already) is that education just has too many rules.

Legislation on top of legislation does not an educated student make, and while rules provide structure (sometimes) they also punish (quite often).  Our state is struggling with rules that change regularly and often; sometimes so quickly that as a regional administrator, I can't provide the districts I work with the most up-to-date (and correct) information.

What schools (and education in general) should really be about is opportunity.  What can we provide students with that they couldn't get elsewhere?  How can we help them see the connection between learning and life?  How can we prime them for success, success that all students have the opportunity to see first-hand?

These aren't easy questions to answer, but they are at the heart of what a good educational system does.  Bill Daggett uses the story of how in the "old days" students weren't allowed to bring their own pencils to school, for fear that they might write notes to each other or draw during lessons.  We see the same rule-making today around digital devices.  Yet, each and every one of us has our phones with us during the school day, and some members of our teams even use them during class.  Is this a rule that helps or an opportunity that is lost?

If we want learning to matter and school to be worthwhile for kids, we have to showcase an understanding that our job is to cater to our students.  To that end, we have to provide the tools and methodology that will best help them learn.

If that takes us out of our comfort zone, so be it.  After all, it's an opportunity for us to all learn something new.

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