Among the biggest challenges we face in “educational reform” are the many faulty assumptions that underlie our efforts to fix the problems we perceive in schools. Because we fail to deeply assess and evaluate these underlying assumptions, we continue to misunderstand the problems, propose answers to the wrong problems, or address only a portion of a much larger overall challenge.
What are some of the common educational assumptions to which I’m referring? Here are a few:
Assumption 1: The goal of schooling should be to graduate students who are verbally, mathematically and technologically literate and who are able to compete in the global economy.
Assumption 2: To best achieve the above goal, we must evaluate students using standardized, multiple choice tests.
Assumption 3: Schools are not the place to teach or discuss values.
There are many more such assumptions that need unpacking, but for the sake of this essay, I’ll simply address these three by attempting to reframe each with questions (and the beginnings of answers) that might lead us toward different approaches to solving educational challenges in the 21st century.
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For a humane world,
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