Brene Brown writes in her book "Daring Greatly", The most significant problems that everyone ... talk(s) to me about stems from disengagement, the lack of feedback, the fear of staying relevant amid rapid change, and the need for clarity of purpose. If we want to reignite innovation and passion, we have to rehumanize work. When failure is not an option we can forget about learning, creativity and innovation."
There seems to be a drive to use business models in education. The chief purpose of a business is to make money. What is the chief purpose of a school? Are these purposes really that closely aligned?
Perhaps these purposes align when the chief purpose of the school becomes social economic reform. We are following theories of differentiated learning practices (which is noble) and standardized assessments with all the conflict that these present when measuring student progress and achievement. Are educational leaders fully aware of the purposes that their targets present or the underlying drivers behind these targets? The purpose of the education taking place needs to remain paramount if we are to truly succeed at our educational goals rather than to blindly achieve goals at all costs like a sausage machine on a mass production line. We want our students to learn, be happy, fulfilled and successful learners beyond a shadow of a doubt, however when the drive for these results becomes so strong that the standardized testing and national benchmarks begin to shame students with deep seated learning difficulties, then I would say that we have gone too far. To blame teachers for the pitfalls and gaps in the education system is cowardly and we need to take more responsibility collectively. We should not lose sight of the complexity of issues and contributors from administrative drivers to parents, teachers and students. Education is about people and not just educating to create the next workforce in society. Education is more than that - much, much more. When these mandates diminish students with learning difficulties and their teachers for their failure to achieve if they don't achieve 100% success - then its time to rehumanize the education system.
Brene Brown writes, "The mandate is not to be perfect and raise happy children. Perfection doesn't exist, and I've found that what makes children happy doesn't always prepare them to be courageous, engaged adults. The same is true for schools. I haven't encountered a single problem that isn't attributed to some combination of parental, teacher, administrative and / or student disengagement and the clash of competing stakeholders vying for one purpose.
Asking for perfection is like asking for failure and not allowing students and teachers the freedom to take risks and learn from failures will cause disengagement. The greatest challenge we face today from economic reform through education is how do we maintain education as a common good? When technology seems to take priority, how do we maintain community in education?
What do you value in education and what do you think is the chief purpose of education?