We gathered together with parents and teachers from around the nation, we broke bread, opened up, and we listened as they imagined an education system built for the future. The future vision they painted together was beautiful, wildly unconfined, and as diverse as the kids it would serve.
We heard of changes to the physical space, with kids climbing trees, or working in a gourmet kitchen, or getting fresh air and ever-changing perspective. We heard ideas for course offerings as far-reaching as teaching with video games or as practical as lessons in balancing a checkbook. We heard of free teachers practicing mastery learning, watching every kid grow at their own pace and with their own vision. The sessions were illuminating and encouraging, but equal parts sad. As we reflect on the current view of education, it seems a far cry from our collective vision for the future.
So, go out, gather together your friends and colleagues–fellow parents and teachers. Scour the neighborhood and invite folks over for some burgers on the grill and good, honest conversation. Open them up with this question: “If you could build a custom school for your kids, what would it look like?” See what happens… see what you can build, together.
And remember that–whatever you build–it needn’t be just one thing. Our education system has been built to the average for too long. It’s time to build it as diverse and engaging as the kids it purports to serve.