I usually don’t get political… but… Rahm Emanuel wants Chicago Public Schools (CPS) to have each student get a letter proving they have been accepted into a college, a trade, the military, or a gap year program in order to graduate. There is much outcry on this topic. Who knows if it is even legal? Sure the idea has holes in it but it is a suggestion to try something new. I like that.
"This idea opens up discussion of what exactly are we doing in high schools."
The pessimists will tell you that the students will cheat and make up letters and approvals etc. This is probably true. However, this idea opens up discussion of what exactly are we doing in high schools? What exactly are we preparing students for? How are we preparing them? I actually like the idea. I definitely think it needs a little more refining. Here’s why…
If there is no goal in mind after high school, what is the purpose of high school? Too many of our students, not only in the CPS system, are floating through their education not seeing any light at the end of the tunnel. There is no reason for the tunnel itself. When a student has no goal, there is confusion, anxiety, and worry then disengagement. Ask any disengaged kid in school what their plans are after school and they will tell you they have no idea. I can almost guarantee that will be the answer. When there is a goal, there is purpose. Where there is purpose, there is effort and hard work.
"Ask any disengaged kid in school what their plans are after school and they will tell you they have no idea."
Again, there are holes Rahm’s plan. The main problem is that the students are still be told to wait for their goal until after high school. To a point, we have brought college, military, and trades into a school day. There has been some success in those efforts. What we are exactly doing for highschool students needs to be more authentic when they are in high school.
"I think students need to have more options to experiment and learn with their personal interests rather than being forced to take a third math course or science course that they will likely not use in life."
Why don’t we start building a student’s portfolio on any of these goals in high school? We need to drop some of the unnecessary requirements for graduation. I think students need to have more options to experiment and learn with their personal interests rather than being forced to take a third math course or science course that they will likely not use in life. Making their education more authentic within the school day as well as having an end goal in mind will only help improve education for all our students.
"If we stay with the status quo in schools, education will continue to become more irrelevant."
If we are going to challenge our students, we will need to take challenging risks ourselves as educators. If we stay with the status quo, education will continue to become more irrelevant. So when a mayor of a major city or a colleague in the bar or a family member at the dinner table suggests something that is huge in sweeping educational reform, as educators, let’s try not to cut down ideas immediately. Let’s try to look at the opportunity in the suggestions and refine the idea further.
Another way to #disrupteducation