My son has spent his first week in a conventional middle school. It is a new experience for him, since he spent 6th grade at Carolina School for Inquiry, a K thru 6th grade child-centered, multi-age, inquiry based public school & last year at a virtual school. Now he is caring a 20 lb book bag, changing classes, eating school lunch, spending time with people he didn't know before Monday. For an introvert and a thirteen year old, this is hard. But he's a trooper, and I'm cautiously optimistic.
What does this have to do with peace? Well, middle school isn't really a peaceful place, is it? The theory is great. Take kids whose hormones are exploding like popped pimples, whose intellectual development is leapfrogging over the factory-model teaching formula of traditional public schools, and whose social awareness is limited to their hair and their latest crushes; throw them together with a bunch of other kids like them and feed them junk food.
Oh, no, wait, that's not Best Practices...
Middle school has a great deal of potential. Kids ARE developing quickly, but they are still kids and haven't lost their enthusiasm and joy (unless it was already beaten out of them in third grade.) There are lessons in social responsibility, personal responsibility, and personal development. There are lessons in meta-cognition --- how do I learn best? what do I want to learn? how can I organize myself to be the best I can be?
But we don't want to "throw money at the problem" of inadequate education. We want to continue to do the same thing over and over again, to see if the same things get different results. (Which is the definition of insanity.) Then we test and test and test. As someone once said, that's like "treating" an illness by taking the patient's temperature over and over again without any change in treatment. (Which is the definition of malpractice.)
But we are willing to throw money and people at war machines. I mean, look at Afghanistan. Again, we are doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. (See definitions above.)
So, let's quit throwing money and good people at war machines & toss some money and good people toward authentic education of EVERYONE.
Just a thought....
Where have you been?
4 years ago