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Next Administration | Ecology of Education

Next Administration

The ability of future generations to solve the network of complex global problems sure to confront them will depend on their capacity to think critically, communicate effectively, and look at systems (be they economic, political, or natural) in innovative and interrelated ways. Teaching students the skills they will need to survive and thrive in such an environment requires that educators, administrators, and policy makers take a second look at traditional standards.

An education relevant to the 21st century emphasizes a more engaging approach to learning environments. Students need access to experiences that cultivate curiosity, creativity, and collaboration as well as basic skills. For all students to reach their unique potential and maximize individual talents they will need opportunities to wrestle with real problems in ways that integrate subjects and skills, providing a meaningful context for investigation and application.

The accountability efforts of the past decade brought light into pockets of our school systems long hidden by tradition and complacency. However, it was a start, not a finish. Lasting reform that inspires both teachers and students must include the voices of educators and reflect a nuanced understanding of how the theory of multiple intelligences influences differentiated curriculum design.

Our education dialogue would benefit from a vocabulary stimulus package. Hopefully the next administration will use terms such as engaging, relevance, rigor, integration, investigation, creativity, differentiation, whole child, creativity, application, communication, media-literacy, technology, service learning, and equal access in addition to accountability, standards, and basic skills.

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Author:Jason Flom

Learner. Educator. Reader. Writer. Cyclist. Part-time Polyanna. Husband. Daddy. Founder, Ecology of Education. Director of Learning Platforms, Q.E.D. Foundation. Twitter: @JasonFlom. LinkedIn: Jason Flom; Edutopia's Green School Group; and doing dishes while pretending to be a professional underground rapper. "I regard it as the foremost task of education to insure the survival of these qualities: an enterprising curiosity, an undefeatable spirit, tenacity in pursuit, readiness for sensible self denial, and above all, compassion." Kurt Hahn
  • http://www.edlegare.com Ed Legare

    The ‘second look’ must include a number of critical foci: it must include an open mindedness of the politics of compassion and it must reinvent our present curricula. Our education system is bankrupt and it is reprehensible to pass it on to our children.

    The dynamic of ‘living in America’ has changed forever. The election of Barack Obama is a beacon for change. Americans of the old tradition need to know that they are not getting their country back. The United States must be reborn and it begins with education…global education…and compassion for diversity and differences of opinion…and critical inquiry…our children must learn and wonder from the earliest age possible…they must be asking questions that yield newer and better questions…and most of all they must understand that they are responsible for their own learning…

    Wouldn’t it be nice if the Navy had to have a ‘bake sale’ to raise money to buy an aircraft carrier?

    Ed

  • http://www.edlegare.com Ed Legare

    The ‘second look’ must include a number of critical foci: it must include an open mindedness of the politics of compassion and it must reinvent our present curricula. Our education system is bankrupt and it is reprehensible to pass it on to our children.

    The dynamic of ‘living in America’ has changed forever. The election of Barack Obama is a beacon for change. Americans of the old tradition need to know that they are not getting their country back. The United States must be reborn and it begins with education…global education…and compassion for diversity and differences of opinion…and critical inquiry…our children must learn and wonder from the earliest age possible…they must be asking questions that yield newer and better questions…and most of all they must understand that they are responsible for their own learning…

    Wouldn’t it be nice if the Navy had to have a ‘bake sale’ to raise money to buy an aircraft carrier?

    Ed