I've recently been drawn to a slew of impassioned posts from several strong voices in education, each managing more than the last to confirm we're headed towards a defining moment in the history of our schools: a shift from an exploration of more effective models of teaching and learning, to an ethical imperative to implement them in our schools.
Jonathan Martin confirms, in an authoritative survey of research on project-based learning that “instead of talking about whether PBL will work, we should focus on what is needed to make it work for our schools and students.” Similarly, Bo Adams invites us to turn our attention from discussions about the importance of student voice and self-direction, to more concrete actions to honor them:
So many questions in education are both vexing and exciting. Some of these emerge from efforts to construct authentic partnerships between public and private schools and their constituents. As a private school leader and a public school parent, I am concerned about the assumptions that often govern such partnerships between students, teachers, parents, and leaders in the public and private sectors—assumptions that, in many cases, strengthen misconceptions each of us have about "the other."
The problem starts with unchallenged conclusions that we in private schools, despite our best intentions, often draw—about our entitlements to resources, and about the effectiveness of our learning models. Add to that a dash of the intellectual and moral self-righteousness that ferments in a pot of unexamined privilege—then season that, in turn, with pandemic misconceptions in our private schools about public schools, their constituents, and their value—and we have an accidental recipe for a toxic soup.