GOOD


Earlier this year in the Curtis School community, we asked teachers what they want their students to become. They used words like compassionate, cooperative, creative, critically thinking, and curious. We asked parents and guardians to identify the words they'd use to define the future "success" of their children—they used words like independent, open-minded, self-motivated, resilient, and engaged. And we asked 8 to 12-year-old students to describe the very best they hoped to become—they used words like balanced, flexible, enthusiastic, honest, cooperative, and determined.

In October we invited similar input from participants at "Teaching and Learning at Home and at School", a conference held on our campus in Los Angeles for passionate educators and parents/guardians—engaged members of both public and private school communities—to reflect on our common commitments to the lives and the learning of school-aged children at school and at home. The 600 participants were stakeholders from 125 schools and districts—yet nobody used words like accountable, competitive, distinguished, or exceptional.

Keep Reading
Articles

The Rise of Democratic Schools and 'Solutionaries': Why Adults Need to Get Out of the Way

Grown-ups need to give youth a seat at the education reform table.


Twenty years ago at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Severn Cullis-Suzuki, a 12-year-old girl from Canada, "silenced the world for six minutes" with her raw and powerful oration lambasting adults for dumping the problems they created onto the next generation. "At school, even in kindergarten, you teach us how to behave in the world," she said. "You teach us to not to fight with others, to work things out, to respect others and to clean up our mess, not to hurt other creatures, to share, not be greedy. Then, why do you go out and do the things you tell us not to do?"

Last March, Esquire revealed what it called the current "War on Youth." In July, Newsweek dubbed millennials "Generation Screwed." In the middle of this mayhem, young people have been left on the sidelines, given the cold shoulder, and ignored. In my life, I've been told to shut up, sit down, and listen. I witness this every single day at school. Top-down, rigid policies dictate word-for-word what students and teachers must do and learn. As a young person, very few seem to be on our side and even fewer attempt to strengthen our voice. Education thought leader Paulo Freire once quipped, "If the structure does not permit dialogue, the structure must be changed."

Keep Reading
Articles

Students For Education Reform? Not the Change We Need

Don't think for a second that SFER represents the voice of students.


It all began in early August of this year. Stephanie Rivera, a student at Rutgers University and future teacher, published a gutsy, investigative piece uncovering the lunacy behind Students for Education Reform, an organization founded by two Princeton students, Catharine Bellinger and Alexis Morin. I highly suggest you read it yourself, but the commentary struck a profound chord with me for a number of reasons.

SFER has rolled out its corporate reform agenda onto over a hundred college campuses across the nation, which includes defending the takeover of public schools by charters and teacher evaluation systems that tie salaries to test scores. Don't believe me? Bellinger and Morin, marionettes of the likes of Joel Klein, Michelle Rhee, Wendy Kopp, and Eli Broad, are now forcing some chapters to sign onto agreements that they carry out the mission of SFER—this was, not surprisingly, uncovered by Rivera.

Keep Reading
Articles