The familiar is comforting to us. We don't fear what we have experienced before, the known. When we as parents visit our kids' school, it's no wonder that we feel that the schools are fine. Most of us attended the same type of schools; the setting is familiar. The rooms have desks with attached chairs, notebooks, textbooks, crayons, pencils, blackboards, etc. -- perfect images of how school was when we were kids. The way schools communicate with parents is also the same. They send us a notice on paper in our kids' backpacks or on a notebook, and even that is exactly like how our parents got the notes.
What's wrong with this picture?
Our kids today have more access to information at their fingertips than we ever did, but the schools have done woefully little to keep up with the information revolution. Why are teachers still giving assignments that can be solved by one simple Google Search? We are so used to the concept of school being the same as it was in our youth that we don't notice, don't think about, how desperately it needs to change. I am not saying that schools should be inundated with the latest technological gadgets, but that the basic premise of our education system needs to change.
- We need to meet students where they are, which is a more advanced place than we were at the same age.
We need to get out of our kids' way. We need to let education be driven by the kids' needs, not what we think schools should look like. Parents need to embrace a vision of schools of the future and push to make that a reality. We need a parent revolution. Are you with me?
Many parents struggle with the notion that they can change the system. It is hard to imagine that one person can affect the system in a positive manner. It is especially hard to envision change when many other like-minded parents choose to abandon public schools instead of fighting to make them better.
Here are some things each one of us as parents can do to help improve the schools:
- Question standardized testing -- especially those that deliver the tests after the school year if over. What good does that do?
Every parent needs to actively engage and ask for change. We simply can't be bystanders anymore. Our children's future is at stake.
The post originally appeared on Parentella's blog.