When everyone starts to agree about something, it might just be time to step back and have another look. Once “commonly accepted practice” takes hold, people sometimes begin to jump on board simply because everyone seems to be heading in a certain direction. That’s not a problem if we’re talking about fashion – we can all tuck our jeans into our boots and nobody really gets hurt. But when it comes to the Free Public Education of Children (sacred work, really, when you consider that we sometimes represent their only chance at a brighter future), we need to be extremely vigilant. Complacency is almost always dangerous – an enemy of innovation.
During my 18 years in education (as a teacher and an administrator) working specifically with “students at risk” in alternative school settings, I’ve been morally obliged to seek out and pilot different approaches to meet the needs of students for whom the traditional school setting didn’t work. OK, to be truthful, it is often as much abject desperation as moral obligation… But in either case, I am driven by a sense of dire urgency to find what might work, and to keep my students from having to demonstrate what doesn’t work through their own continued failure.
The purpose of this blog is to offer a forum for examining and challenging some of the commonly held beliefs and “best practices” in public education that might, perhaps, warrant a fresh lens – And to disseminate information and new ideas from emerging research and revolutionary practices that hold promise for helping all students to succeed.