Millions of Solutions: The imperative to involve teachers and students in education reform
It is no secret that formal education is in the midst of an identity crisis. The physical and ideological form of North America’s public education systems took shape in the decades following the Second World War in response to significant social, economic and demographic changes that were occurring at that time. Now faced with a new set of changes driving the 21st century, schools appear to be struggling to keep up.
The response to the education system’s struggles has often been to implement reforms with the goal of fixing what is regarded as a broken system. This narrow focus on systemic flaws has diverted attention away from the tremendous creative potential of the students and teachers who make up that remarkably complex system, opting instead to mandate policies and demand greater measures of accountability.
Fortunately, this is starting to change. By examining the world of entrepreneurship and the many physical and digital environments that are already supporting innovative, collaborative learning, it becomes possible to imagine a school system in which change emanates from within rather than from above.
This paper seeks to concisely outline the reasons for education’s current struggles without losing sight of its considerable successes. It argues that change within education is necessary, but will only be possible and meaningful if the people on the front lines of the system are leveraged. Once they are, it will become clear that there is not one single solution to education’s identity crisis—there are millions of them.