It’s time to stop “teaching to the test” and start helping kids learn 21st Century educational and interpersonal skills.
As reported by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, up to 20 people were stabbed at Franklin Regional High School in Murrysville, Penn. The school is located about fifteen miles outside of Pittsburgh.
Our hearts go out to the victims and their families, and we are want to first express our sympathy to all who were affected by this tragedy.
But with yet another horrific assault in a public school we have to begin asking ourselves some hard questions. What is going on in our schools and are we becoming so desensitized to these terrible events that we are ready to accept this as part of American life?
Schools are not empowering places. Kids in school are not encouraged to pursue what they are passionate about. They are told to complete tasks that, if successfully completed, will insure continued funding for the school (i.e. “teaching to the test”). This, coupled with the lack of learning about interpersonal skills, appreciating difference, and other emotional intelligence capacities leaves kids with little self esteem and often a lot of frustration.
By all accounts, the next generation workforce will need skills that transcend traditional educational goals. They will need to synthesize information, work collaboratively, think in ways that move beyond specialized skill sets and they will need to be passionate about continuing the learn in a world where change will only accelerate.
What kind of radical changes do we need in order for public education to become relevant to modern life? When do we start teaching emotional literacy? When do we stop making kids learn how to take tests and start teaching them how to live more fulfilling educational lives?
Education needs to change and change dramatically.
On a separate note, this Friday a number of New York Elementary schools will be the site of wide ranging demonstrations in protest of the 2014 ELA Exams. You can read a public letter by over a dozen New York City school principals here.