Sunday, February 3, 2013

The Bestselling Story Of School Is Being Replaced

The schoolhouse on the hill
image found at http://skyways.lib.ks.us/orgs/madison/historyofmadison.htm
The story of school we used to tell (with great effectiveness) went something like this.
  • Go to school
  • Work really hard
  • Make good grades
  • Gain admission into a good college
  • Earn a degree
  • Get a good job
  • Live the dream
This was my story.  For some, this is still an effective story.  Like me, its effectiveness increases if your family does not have a history of college graduates.  If the outcome is attractive, then it can be a motivating tale.

However, the past few decades have seen a sizable increase in the percentage of the population with a college degree.  More recently, we see clear evidence suggesting that a college degree is no longer a golden ticket to a good job.  The "carrot" of a good college and a "guaranteed" job is quickly becoming a cultural myth.

This begs the questions, "What story is our school telling students now?" and, "Is our story aligned with the future in which our students are most likely to live?"

I think teachers, schools, school systems, and education in general struggle with these questions because the answer isn't static.  These questions require on-going, purposeful conversations as well as the willingness to adjust operations to align with the answers that emerge.
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