Tuesday, August 28, 2012
LET THE DIALOGUE BEGIN: ANOTHER TAKE ON OUR PUBLIC PURPOSE
Briefly: For a while it has been on my mind that independent schools here and there are up to some pretty exciting things and that for various reasons this information tends to remain within our sector of the education world. Earlier this summer I put pen to paper on this topic and submitted an essay to Education Week proposing, from my humble seat, that independent schools might consider sharing what we’ve been learning and that public school educators might be interested in what we have to share.
This might be just a modest and slightly romantic proposal, or perhaps it's an idea whose time has come; since our pathways began to diverge widely right around the start of the No Child Left Behind–standardized testing era, the things we have been free to do have been in some contrast with the constraints under which that public schools have been living. We have been free to experiment and try things out that even charter schools—subject to testing mandates—have not been able to attempt, and some of the work our more forward-thinking schools are doing is pretty exciting.
The piece went online today and will show up in print, with a slightly less strident title, in tomorrow’s edition of the paper. I’d like to think it will inspire some consideration, and that more of our schools will seek opportunities to share lessons of practice and program beyond our various usual channels of communication. I’d even like to think that folks in other areas of education will start asking us a few questions.
I don’t think that we have all the answers or that our schools are “better” than others, but I do think we have both an opportunity and an obligation to express our public purpose by inserting ourselves more energetically into the national conversation about effective education—for all kids.