George Lucas Educational Foundation

Can school kids fight The Power?

Can school kids fight The Power?

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My view of what's going on in education is somewhat pessimistic. One big reason for pessimism is that school kids are browbeaten into accepting less education than their minds could actually handle.

Oh, the experts will talk about things in ecstatic, hyperbolic terms. All kids will be college-ready and career-ready!!!!! Meanwhile, you have tens of millions of young people who cannot read properly, can't do basic math, don't know where Panama is, or what a cloud is. There is a huge disconnect in just these few statements. Somebody's lying.

Decades back, the standard liberal prescription was that the poor and dispossessed should fight back, and try to reclaim their inheritance. Who is saying that now with regard to education?

Surely, children shouldn't have to put up with every sophistry that professors at Harvard's Graduate School of Education come up with. Surely, children should be encouraged to oppose the dumbing down that seems to be going on all around them.

Perhaps we need more guerrilla teaching, and more students who become education guerrillas, that is, fighters for a higher level of education for every American.

In that spirit, here's an article titled "Memo to public school students: fight back." (Administrators are not allowed to look at this article. It's for guerrilla teachers and guerrilla students.)

This post was created by a member of Edutopia's community. If you have your own #eduawesome tips, strategies, and ideas for improving education, share them with us.

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Whitney Hoffman's picture
Whitney Hoffman
Producer LD Podcast, Digital Media Consultant, Author

My perspective is that kids definitely need to be challenged, but it's also up to me as a parent to provide some of that outside of school- whether it's taking them places or signing them up for camps, etc.- any opportunity I can provide. I can't expect school to do that all the time, whether its public or private.

I have one child who's very autodidactic, and is doing things like watching Yale Lectures on Youtube for his high school classes, looking up info on subjects that interest him, but sometimes school is not as receptive to this as I'd hope. (ie- we're not covering that right now...)

The bigger problem, systemically, is that We haven't figured out how to truly differentiate education, or make it so each kid gets what they need, and can hopefully skip parts they already get. Or, sometimes, even ask why what we're teaching is important and applicable to a kid long term. If we can crack the bespoke education model without resorting to home schooling or private tutors, we'll make some headway :)

Laura Thomas's picture
Laura Thomas
Director, Antioch University New England Center for School Renewal, Author of Facilitating Authentic Learning, Director of the Antioch Critical Skills Program; Elementary Library Media Specialist

When I was working with the Coalition of Essential Schools in Kansas City, we came up with a program in which kids made meaning of the 10 Common Principles of the organization and then gathered evidence around how their schools were implementing them (or not). They made a plan to make some kind of change in their schools, something that made sense to them in light of the 10 CPs (which they were universally in support of- I've never had a kid or adult look at them and say, "Nope. Don't want that. Bad ideas all around.")

The combination of education, reflection and action made them excellent change agents- and they supported the efforts that their schools were making too. The learned to push back when instruction or assessment didn't line up with philosophy and respectfully suggest alternatives.

It was a very effective program, if I say so myself.

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