Scribbles from the back of my mind…

Last week during a keynote at the Intel Education Visionary Forum Frank Luntz shared some poll numbers on how overwhelmingly parents want their schools to return “back to basics”. As you can imagine this caused quite a stir in an audience that was made up of some of the most vocal proponents of technology in education and that by going back to basics would exclude any creative use of technology.  Well, it is my opinion that “back to basics” just might be ill-defined.

I believe that the “back to basics” movement is push back against all of the failed experimentation that has taken place in the schools over the course of the last 50 years. If you really sit down and ask a parent if they want schools to return to the 1960s, the answer will probably be no.  I think that parents want schools that work.  They want pop psychology, experimental social programs, extremist curriculum and failed pedagogy put to an end. They want excuses to stop and real learning to begin.  Parents are tired of their children’s “seat time” being wasted on ill-defined goals, alternative programs of study and meaningless assignments. Children are not lab rats and they want the experiments to end…NOW. 

They want their children to graduate with the skills and acumen to succeed in a technologically advanced world but not at the expense of a classical education. It is our duty as educators not to just prepare them for the next test but to guide them in the pursuit of knowledge, to build life long learners who can ask the good questions and then search for the answers.

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