New Schools for a New Era

Today’s schools don’t fit a modern era notwithstanding the dedication of teachers and principals. School people work hard with a model developed 140 years ago. Everyone trying to improve schools struggles to get a little more mileage from the conventional system. They succeed to an extent, but the present model reaches an upper limit. It’s like trying to make a typewriter a word processor.

Schools aren’t good enough in many areas: too many students are bored and disengaged; participatory democratic citizenship skills like critical thinking are poorly developed and little practiced in school; 20th-century skills, community participation; and personal health and talents are not valued or measured. Modern principles of learning are not applied. Too much talent goes wasted. Today’s schools are a poor fit for the Internet age.

It doesn’t have to be that way. I will share ideas from School Transformation to:

  • Clarify the shortcomings of today’s schools. This won’t rely on international comparisons and test scores. This describes Old Schools in a New Era page.
  • I will describe the new era and its implications for schools including how students learn and changing societal forces impacting schools. page.
  • Provide a new conceptualization of schooling for the new era.

I want to see schools (even the word “school” conjures an image and gets in the way of rethinking) that are places of action, where school doors swing both ways tapping the goldmine of community resources; where schools are a beehive of active students in a variety of ventures and expression; and where teachers and administrators draw upon their creativity in creating schooling that fits a changing democracy.


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