As education leaders, how do we convince our parent communities, our Trustees, our students themselves, of this (7)?
Because this really is the most important measure of accountability isn’t it? That this school, this system, is the very best place for your child to learn on this day (4), and this school and this system is innovating in every way possible to ensure your child’s gifts are uncovered, nurtured, scaffolded and unleashed.
Mary Jean Gallagher tells us that schools must be places where children can realize their “best possible, most richly-imagined future” (Jan. 17, 2014, Toronto)
As an education leader (6), what compelling arguments do you have for the innovative practices – foreign to parents who experienced the linear, industrial model of school – being used to personalize learning for their child?
We know that compelling arguments are a critical first step for change. Without compelling arguments (2), traditionalists will shut down, stop listening (3), move on down the same path of a system that produces a ranking of individuals, filtering those who are different out of the picture.
Do you talk to parents about how the popular narrative that “robots are taking over the world” isn’t something they can just ignore any more, that good jobs really have already disappeared offshore and to automation through robotics and 3D printers (5)? This is why we educate our students to take advantage of the cognitive opportunities that arise when menial work becomes mechanized and digitized.
Perhaps the argument that the school system as they knew it, did not achieve positive outcomes for all children, and that disengagement (1) in secondary school is a national tragedy that must be changed, would resonate with your community.
Perhaps the democratization of the system is most important – creating a school community where all members have voice and choice that is not constrained by outdated structures like timetables and limited course selections.
In the report, they set out nine first steps in moving to an education system that creates the innovators needed for today’s world.
Step 1 is Building the case for change.
For those who have been in this business of change for many years, it is a struggle to understand why many leaders don’t see the urgency.
This section from page 8, the Executive Summary, explains the situation with such clarity:
Over the past few years, many leaders have told me that as soon as someone starts talking about 21C, or innovation, or technology, or the 6 C’s, they tune out. It doesn’t interest them and they don’t see the value.
For those who have heads that hurt from hitting them against the brick walls of hierarchy, remember the Randy Pausch quote:
Creative leadership requires more than courage, more than dedication. It requires passion and purpose, so don’t give up.
It also requires an understanding of how to carefully defend your position, to find value in your stance, and to clearly communicate that value to those who can make a difference.
Page 60 of the report suggests first steps for building that case.
What a great focus for our work – building a case for change.
Why is it critical to create innovators? Why is it, that a school system designed to build a standardized work force, is not creating the conditions for learning needed for young people in a world where robotics and offshore/global competition have eliminated most manufacturing jobs?
How do we convince leaders to prepare our kids to seize the opportunities that arise when all menial work can be done by machines?
We need creative public leaders who can build this convincing case for change – before we become completely irrelevant.