Recently I watched a TED talk by Sir Ken Robinson on Changing the Education Paradigm and it made me feel even more disheartend with our country's approach to educating children. The talk was recorded almost 5 years ago and nothing has changed towards a more sensible and effective method to public education. I know that many other pundits have declared our education system to be broken decades before Sir Robinson but it seems like true education reform is gaining more momentum because of recent books such as NurtureShock, Feel-Bad Edcuation, Drive, The Flat World and Education, The Death and Life of the Great American School System, and the like.
The official website for the movies Waiting for Superman and Race to Nowhere have sections on taking action. In fact, the Waiting for Superman site is hosting and streaming a live town hall meeting On May 11th with Secretary of Education Arne Duncan on the future of education in America.
Or perhaps it seems that true education reform is this way only because I've become a parent to school-aged children?
I thought of my 10 year-old nephew who is like the dancer in Sir Robinson's talk. Circles being pounded into square holes. I think of my brilliant 15 year-old honor roll niece who is worried that she doesn't have a 'hook' to get into the ivy league schools. Which makes my mind spin with recent opinions posted on Forbes online regarding the decline of investment in higher education.
With all the multimedia attention I wonder what would be the tipping point for education transformation?
Is it a matter of bringing it to the voting booth again and again and writing to your elected officials? Would it be a critical mass of driven parents demanding change at their school -one school at a time? Or do we need to wait for a trickle down effect from college admissions boards should they change their criteria to have less emphasis on test scores ?
So here I sit pondering how I can be the change I wish to see in the (education) world. In my last post I told you all that I was not going for Round 2 and keeping my spot at Jefferson. I also mentioned at one point that I was exploring the idea of joining a home school coopertive. One parent asked me why I didn't want to go to Jefferson. It's not Jefferson I have an issue with, it's the approach and test-driven philosophy in public education. The reason why I was so attracted to the Presidio Hill School and Synergy was because they have an entirely different approach. And given that Luke was neither accepted nor could we afford either without aid, I looked for a solution between the public and private options.
It came down to creating the educational environment I wanted for Luke - from scratch if needed. The initiative is to
- Hire an amazing teacher with over 35 years in primary education who is passionate and progressive in teaching style.
- Secure a dedicated classroom space for the children to attend and feel a sense of ownership in their learning environment.
- Dedicate the time, effort, and funds that will go directly to my child's learning and that of the families children in the co-op.
And yet other family considerations are pulling us to our third option: moving back east. West and I will be leaving our hearts in San Francisco and going with our heads and children to the suburbs of Northern Virginia. Our family is sadly joining the statistic of those middle class families exiting San Francisco.
So there you have it. A spot at Jefferson will be available as are spots in the home school co-op (email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information if you are interested). We will enroll Luke and Lulu into a Virginia public school. I will be a vociferous advocate for my children's right for quality education. I will cast my vote and elbow grease into the ring with other parents seeking education transformation and hope we get closer to the tipping point for nation-wide change.
Our very best wishes to all SF K file readers.
- Aissa, West, Luke, & Lulu