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Friday, October 25, 2013

Imagine a new lens

So much of our talk about our children in our public schools is based on deficit thinking. Our lens on public schools constantly zeros in on what is going wrong rather than on what is going right. Our first looks are almost always critical. Children in our public schools are constantly being measured, weighed, and sorted into little boxes.
The focus is always on what they can't do. In public school the talk is almost never about what children can do.
Have you ever heard our political leaders once say our children in our nation's private schools are failing? They just can't take their critical eyes off our public schools.
My thinking is we should challenge deficit thinking. That deficit paradigm is so deeply embedded in public schools our nation's leaders, mainstream media, and policy makers have become a chorus of our children, their teachers and public schools are failing. Really it never ends. Even when they highlight success on that rare occasion it gets put out there as why isn't everyone doing it this way. I am challenging America to change our deficit lens.
What if we did school Differently?
Looked at children through a lens that highlighted:
Their strengths,
Their creativity,
Their curiosity,
Their endless determination to succeed.
Carl Sagan, 
American astronomer and astrophysicist said: “Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.”  Notice he did not say waiting for something already known. Deficit thinking chases the past not the future, and the past it chases is almost always measured within the constraints of those tiny bubbles on multiple choice tests. Children are born for the future, not the past, they are naturally curious, and they learn best through doing not testing. 

Suppose our mission was to find their strengths, their talents, and their hopes. What if we valued their possibilities not their limitations. What if we insisted our policy makers, our politicians, and our leaders in education focused not on the deficits, but the positive?
What if we insisted rather than measure failure, our leaders take responsibility for creating a public school system that supported our children rather than measure, weigh, and sort them?
Isn't it time we looked at our public schools through the eyes of a child?
Jesse The Walking Man Turner

If you want to know what the Walking Man listened to on his walk over the mountain this's Barry Lane's "More Than A Number"... 

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