September 22, 2013 § Leave a comment
So far, 2013 is largely living up to the hype as a “tipping point” for education reform. Conversations around disruption, blending, and mastery are becoming mainstream. At long last, it seems like every aspect of the educational is being reexamined and redesigned by someone. There is more opportunities for funding and innovation than ever before. Not all these experiments will work, but we as a society are arguably questioning and learning more about education in the last couple years than we have in the past century. Yet there is one aspect of the educational experience where even the most adventurous reformers (with a few exceptions) tread cautiously: the assumption that attending college is a (if not the) primary goal of K-12 education.
A few forward-thinking schools may dare to list “college and career readiness” as if the two were equally valuable. However, the brutal reality of modern education is that virtually every aspect of elementary and secondary education is optimized to help colleges decide which students to admit. This is best seen in the “transcript” — a list of standardized courses and grades that end up defining both the identity and activity of students. Even the vast majority of charters and homeschools design themselves around that same artifact, with only token efforts to prepare students for success in the real world.
You may consider this a radical and unwarranted claim. To back it up, let me present an alternate model of what school could (and should) look like if we removed that distortion. I call it the Triversity. It draws inspiration from the two areas of learning where almost nobody worries about college: preschool and entrepreneurship. Here’s what it looks like. « Read the rest of this entry »