Friday, August 6, 2010

Farewell, My Friends

This will be the final post here; I am working toward moving my evolving spiel to a new venue, "Not Your Father's School." My hope is to unify some of my thinking, which has been split between this blog and "The New Progressive."

Part of my desire is to lose the specific focus on teaching and professional culture here and what I am feeling are my overly restrictive ties to what I have been calling the New Progressivism over there. There is something new going on in independent schools, and it has progressive roots, and it's very much tied to the way we organize and manage schools and their curricula, but I'd like a fresh start.

I also want to take a deep breath and try to sort out what's really important. I am feeling overwhelmed by the sheer volume of truisms and banalities gushingly tweeted by educational (and especially ed tech) gurus and conference-goers alike; there has been a plethora of communication about education lately but a dearth of real discourse. I want to be helpful, and not just another Jeremiah or self-styled Answer Man.

I don't really blame all the excited posters and tweeters under whose words and reasonably good ideas I am feeling buried, but I'm not sure I really need to spend time analyzing yet another iteration of someone's breathless assertion that "Never before has teaching creativity been so important" and "Do we want our students trained for the last century, or this one?" I can't blame the writers, because it's all so, well, timely; we're all more than a little swept up in the craze of the moment and a sense of mounting anxiety that if we don't capture and harness the ideas that might drive the changes we need right now, the moment will pass us by and we'll all be doomed to living out the gurus' dystopic vision of an eternity of teaching and learning in schools based on Henry Ford's assembly line.

I've expressed before, here and elsewhere, my unhappiness with the ways that educational experts have begun to feed on teachers and schools in the same way the politicos and mass-media journalists have been doing since 1983 or so. Too many educator fingers are being pointed at teachers and administrators as the cause of all the inertia and resistance that prevents schools--and here I refer in particular to independent schools, who are not enslaved by NCLB testing requirements--from enacting the changes that will make our programs and institutions sustainable into the foreseeable future.

So, it's time step make a formal declaration of my intention to step away from this site, hunker down in my secure undisclosed location for a while, and try to figure out what the school(s) of the future--which will indeed not be my father's school--will need to be like, and how they will need to conceive of, recruit, train, and treat their (I certainly hope and expect) admirable faculties.

73, friends