I am a Chicago-based education writer. My background is in teaching and curriculum development; my future is in education reform.*By “reform,” I don’t mean “refurbishing.” I mean it’s time to start over. I thought about calling this blog Tabula R.A.T.A. because it’s time to wipe the K12 slate clean and start over, on four pillars: Relevance to the real world, Access for all children to an effective education, use of Technology to liberate and empower teachers and students, and Authentic learning experiences that have purpose and context.
But Tabula R.A.T.A. seems like a bit of a mouthful, and a bit…I don’t know, stark? So I’m calling it E.A.R. to the Ground. Equity, Authenticity, Relevance—three qualities around which the experience in the classroom must transform. Equitable access to a quality education for all students; Authentic learning, including a purpose and context; and experiences that have Relevance to actual twenty-first century life.
There are a lot of other things that need to be reinvented—financial and legislative processes, teachers’ training and working conditions—honestly, it’s all a mess. But this blog is going to focus, mostly, on the E.A.R.—Equity, Authenticity, and Relevance—of learning experiences.
So, I’ve been putting my ear to the ground and listening for the coming sea change. I want to be there when the tide rolls in. I want to be part of that tide, make it happen, direct its flow to maximize regeneration. It’s going to be fantastic. It’s going to get us places. It’s going to change the landscape. It might be a little scary, but we can prepare for it, ride it, roll with it, travel on it. We’re all part of it.
*UPDATE: As I write, I learn. Education reform--it means working to make things better, for teachers and students alike. But like so many other terms, like "values" and "family" and "life," and "freedom," "education reform" seems to have been co-opted by political forces. I don't consider "reform" to mean "forcing a narrow band of rigid measures aimed at reducing teachers' profile and autonomy and controlling money." I consider "reform" to mean, simply, changes for improvement.