This week as I traveled I listened to a story on NPR about the Concord Free Press living up to its name and actually giving away the books it publishes. The idea struck Hamilton Fitch of The Nation magazine as ludicrous but he later admitted that “we need as much innovation and independent spirit as possible.”.
As I listened I thought about the schools I’ve worked in and visited during the past few years, about NCLB and how it has been implemented, and about the current state of education reform. I realized that what I’ve seen happen is that we have done everything possible to squash innovation and independent spirit. Very good teachers have been told to stick to a script – teach, assess, and move on – and children have gotten really good at taking standardized tests. I’ve witnessed very little activity that encourages innovation and creative problem-solving. In fact, I’ve seen some very creative and innovative teachers get reprimanded for trying to be innovative and creative, for using strategies that would help students think more deeply and develop content to show what they can do.
This weekend you can participate in an online conference with a bunch of people who are trying to change that. The 2010 Reform Symposium (#rscon10) is a FREE worldwide online conference that hosts some of the most innovative thinkers in education. Here’s your chance to listen, discuss, tweet, chat, and learn from some of the best in the business. Get your principal, administrators, school board members, parents, and students to join the conversation, too. If we’re lucky maybe Arne Duncan or President Obama will listen in as well.
If you learn something exciting, feel free to share it here.