I have read two articles in the last 24 hours that ask the same question, I think from possible completely unrelated sources. Read them both. To me these article articulate so clearly a question I have struggled to put words to. What is the best education? Does it prepare kids for now with standards written by older people who know what made them successful or does it prepare them for the future that has unknowable standards other than it will be filled with creative, broken, and communal people? A theologian I follow was evidently a Teach For America participant. I did not know this. He was at their 20th Anniversary Conference and picked this quote out of the opening session from Wendy Kopp,
In aggregate, we have not seen a meaningful closure of the achievement gap. Where a child is born still very accurately predicts whether she’ll ever have a shot at college…there are still whole neighborhoods that put more students in prison than college.
Perhaps we need to rethink what we are educating for? Each student, in fact everyone we meet, has some unique piece of the image of God in them, that will be lost until time ends if it is not brought out. As a teacher I help students explore what that piece might be and express that to the world. I think this is educating for the future. I have to admit that when face with a room full of student who are not getting some concept the first instinct is to make it more basic. Instead perhaps we need to make it more life like, more of an exploration, more likely to reveal the unique people in our classrooms. This is messy, but so is life.