Originally posted on his blog: http://www.mitchellrobinson.net/2015/06/05/the-one-about-global-competitiveness-and-what-we-truly-want-for-our-children/
Here is what I don't want with respect to my kids' education:
I don't want my children to be "globally competitive"--that's nothing more than Cold War fear mongering. Having recently returned from Shanghai, I can report that the Chinese educators I had the pleasure of working with were very interested in American educational strategies and ideas, and not for reasons of "global competitiveness." They seemed honestly interested in how what we do as teachers was the same or different from their approaches to teaching and learning, wanted to know how US teachers were prepared in colleges and universities, and were eager to share their traditions and ideas with us.
I'm not interested in an educational approach that is targeted on producing "college and career ready" graduates. My boys are 12 and 14. We hope they attend college, choose a major they are passionate about, and find a way to apply their talents and abilities in jobs that they enjoy and that make a strong contribution to their community and society in general. But that's not the purpose of education. Education is not "job training". Its so much more, and limiting the creativity and wonder of learning to college and career readiness is a perversion of the true purpose and value of education. The reformers have a very narrow, impoverished notion of education as nothing more than a banking transaction, in which teachers make deposits and students withdrawals. Its little wonder that their approach to schooling is erasing the joy of learning for students and teachers in far too many of our schools today.
And, I don't want an increasing bevy of tests consuming ever larger swaths of time and energy in my children's education. The truth is that we are measuring the things that are easy to measure, and ignoring the things that really matter--relationships between teachers and students, and among students themselves.
Here's what I do want for my children's education, and for education in general:
I want my children to read for enjoyment, play an instrument and sing, draw, dance, play, think, feel and be kind.
I want schools to be richly diverse, noisy, messy places full of discovery, where instead of worrying about a stifling regimen of tests, children are encouraged to explore, ponder, experiment and create.
I want rich arts programs, nurses, psychologists, counselors and librarians in every school, to make sure that no child comes to or leaves school hungry, and for schools to be places where every child and adult is treated with dignity and respect.
I want my children's teachers to be free to create their own lessons, and work collaboratively with their colleagues in a climate of trust and mutual respect with their administrators, school board members and parents.
I want those teachers to be evaluated based on the work they do in the classroom with their students, not on standardized test scores in subjects they don't teach, from students they've never met.
I want those teachers to be well prepared, and fully certified in their subject area with a semester or more of internship experience before being entrusted with their own classroom.
Iwant all children to be taught by persons who care about their growth and development as full human beings, not about their test scores.
And let's stop using "competition" as a solution for the problems that have been caused by..."competition."