Parents, Weigh In On This!

Published on May 3, 2012 by in Child Development, Education

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An Open Letter to Educators is a fantastic & thought-provoking video presenting the opinions of (former) University of Nebraska student Dan Brown.

I just saw this video yesterday, and simply have to share it because of the great discussion it will spark. Dan makes some very important points that parents, educators and students alike must include in our national dialogue about education.

It resonates with me personally because I’ve experienced similar things throughout my own education: passive learning with a fact-heavy focus, high costs for textbooks I didn’t actually need, and at many points I also felt that school was interfering with my education.

These problems arise in primary and secondary ed too. Of course this is a generalization and not all schools/classes/teachers function in this way, but far too many DO. (To learn more about the crisis in America’s high schools, visit The Alliance for Excellent Education).

Think about it:

Students are not consistently involved in problem-solving or taught how to creatively synthesize information. There’s little happening to relate class content to students’ daily lives, or emphasize how any of it is relevant to their interests or experience of the world. Kids are told what to do, what to learn, how to learn it, and are generally not empowered to think for themselves. On the contrary, I know students in elementary school who already say they hate school, books and learning.

This is deeply disturbing.

We must ask ourselves: How can creatures who have such a deep curiosity and joy of learning have these innate characteristics squelched out of them so early in life?

Public Education in the United States is in a real state of crisis, and though Dan Brown’s video focuses on the impact of free information on higher education I believe that many of his points are much more far-reaching.

To be clear, this is not about blame. It’s not about being anyone’s fault. Teachers, parents, administrators and students are doing the best they can in a system that (in my opinion) does not adequately cultivate the potential of future generations or set them up for success as adults.

May this video & blog post be part of a much larger conversation:

  • What are the ultimate goals of our educational system?
  • What teaching pedagogies most effectively engage, empower, and cultivate a life-long love of learning in students (while also nourishing the creativity & skills of teachers)?
  • How might free access to information transform education (& the obscene cost of higher education) for the better?
  • How do you react (& respond) to Dan Brown’s video?

Every constructive opinion will help further this important dialogue.
Share what you think. Your voice is a gift.

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