An Anthem for Educational Reform (Annotated)

I believe the children are our are future 

Children are our future, which is what makes it so critical to not masquerade overzealous test preparation (that goes on in most schools around the country) as a tool for developing a) inquisitive minds, b) lifelong learners, c) scientists, engineers, teachers, lawyers, doctors, etc. The only thing test prep creates is kids who can take a test. Life will require  very little of that skill past a certain point.

Teach them well and let them lead the way 

Teaching them well means being a solid professional who seeks to grow through various opportunities. Letting them lead the way means hearing their voices, giving them inquiry-based activities, and worrying more about where they are now and how to get them to where they need to be instead of giving up on them.

Show them all the beauty they possess inside 

Build them up by focusing on the wonderful things about them past their academic achievements. Cultivate their talents, interests, and skills. Focus on the positives about the child, rather than the negatives. All kids have negatives, but you know what? They all have positives, too.

Give them a sense of pride to make it easier 

Everything is easier when you believe in yourself and are willing to take risks – in learning and in life.

Let the children’s laughter remind us how we used to be…

Laughter is not a bad thing. Laughter indicates comfort and joy. If we can recall our own youths and the joys of childhood, perhaps we can more successfully help our children experience them, rather than having a mentality that says, “I’m the adult and you’re the child. You do what I say.”

Yes, they’re the lyrics to a 1986 pop song by Whitney Houston, but as educators – or as non-educator reform crusaders – couldn’t we all take a lesson from them?

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