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Schools Embedded in Society …

The belief that schools are embedded in society and must be responsive to its demands is a generally accepted truism.  Do you think this long held concept supports or interferes with the mission of schools to prepare our students for the future and our changing world?

Schools should not be responsive to the demands of society. Schools mission should be to prepare students for the future. The future has begun to change more rapidly than education can keep up with. Should this slow our students down? After watching the video “Shift Happens” by Karl Fisch, I started seeing the 21st century skills that many are trying to teach our students as imperative to even the youngest students. I believe this because if we teach them the old fashion way (i.e. rote memorization) at a young age and then try to change them to be critical thinkers in school, most students will want to see the rubric to know exactly what you want from an assignment. Schools should be responsive to the future demands of our society.

The other big problem with this truism is the question of who makes the demands from society? Is it the citizens, the board of education, the governors or the Washington politicians?  As we can see with the Common Core State Standards debate, our society cannot even agree on what standards should be met, let alone how teachers can accomplish that. Sometimes I agree with the teachers who just shut their door and teach. They claim that administrators, board members and politicians all come and go while the teachers are in the only ones in the classrooms teaching. If there was a way to get more classroom teachers to be writing policy while not taking them out of the classroom, we will have started something amazing.

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