We will never solve our education crisis if we meander around the extremes of our party platforms. Rather, we must reward methods that yield success and abandon those that continue to fail, regardless of politics.
– Gabriel Ozuna, college sophomore at Yale University writing for Pass the Chalk
I’m am feeling pretty proud today because one of my former students has a measured, thoughtful and hyperlink-filled posting over at Teach For America’s blog “Pass the Chalk!” After last night’s Presidential town hall/cage fight it was refreshing to hear a call for solutions over partisanship from the next generation.
What I find interesting about education and politics is how everyone agrees reform is urgent and necessary yet there seems to be a lack of creativity in implementing solutions. Certainly NCLB, Race to the Top, and the Common Core represent bold strides into new territory however I also believe the time has come to correct the agressive swing towards frequent high-stakes testing and return to a measured, yet accountable, approach that includes the arts and humanities.
At the same time I am unsurprised by the lack of federal solutions to what I believe is a local problem. If education is the Civil Rights movement of our time we can hardly expect legislatures and bureaucrats to do the work of what must be a grassroots movement. Though it is one small contribution it feels pretty great to have had the privilege of teaching a young man who is already taking part in demanding more from his elected officials. I was once told “our students are the messages we send to a future we will not see.” With former students like Gabriel and his classmates, I am more than hopeful about seeing an education revolution well within my lifetime. Indeed, it is already underway.