Megan Rosker invites leaders to rise to this challenge: Education needs a rebel.
Martin Luther King, Jr and Abraham Lincoln were rebels. They weren’t rebels in the way we usually picture rebels in our imagination. There was nothing James Dean about these men.There was no leather jacket or motorcycle required.
These men didn’t act from a sense of being oppressed, worried or filled with doubt about who they were or what their people deserved.
Education needs a rebel.
A rebel is “a person who resists any authority, control, or tradition.”
The authority running our education system, the control that is held over our students and this long standing dysfunctional tradition must come to end in order for parents, teachers and students to have the voice they need to have as we transition our educational system to one of greatness instead of one of fear.
What are we afraid of? We are afraid someone will beat us, be better than us. We fear someone will rise up, that some other society will beat us to the punch.
So instead of waving our flag, we wave standardized testing banners and core curriculum standards. Is this ever how any great society has thrived? Is this ever how a nation has created innovators and leaders?
Look at history and you won’t find a single example of this being true. Always the cultures that rise, does so based on their innovation and they fall when their reach reaches too far and they try to force their countrymen to follow to completely.
We live in constant fear that our authority in the world will be questioned. And just as we fear this, it is happening. Why? Because usually what we fear most deeply materializes.
Where are the leaders? Where are the innovators? Where are the creatives?
Where are the rebels?
As long as we fear or doubt that we cannot give every child, no matter their race, gender or need, a superior education that allows them to foster life success, we will flounder.
We lean heavily upon data driven assessments and research because we feel we don’t have the fortitude to take action for what is right.
MLK ended his final speech, called I’ve Been to the Mountaintop, saying,
I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people will get to the promised land. And I’m happy, tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.
These are the words of a man not leaning on data, but on his passion for justice and equality. He knew this was the right thing to do.
Do we have that kind of passion for our children or must we constantly look for proof in the research pudding to demonstrate that we are headed in the right direction?
Lincoln ended the Gettysburg address with these words,
…that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
These are the words of a leader committed to leading.
Are we committed to leading our children?
Rebellion will happen when we have grown tired of our doubt, when we are finally frustrated with our limited options.
Rebellion is not fighting the person that represents the oppression, it is fighting the lack of fortitude and a faulty belief system.
MLK didn’t protest just laws that oppressed black men and women. He protested a belief. He opened the minds of all people in this country to a new belief and therefor changed the black experience.
Lincoln didn’t just abolish slavery. He abolished a belief that manifested slavery.
What are our beliefs about education?
What is the belief that is holding us back from change?
What do we choose to believe that doesn’t allow all children the chance for an excellent education?
We cannot overcome the failures in our education system until we feel that we are equal to the success that our children deserve. As long as we fear we cannot achieve, we never will.