What makes this book different from others that have tackled the question of what’s wrong with our schools? For me, it’s an entry point of sorts to the many questions, hunches, and revelations that have been swirling around in my mind for over fifty years. Given that I have spent my entire life in and around schools and believe passionately that learning is the most exciting and rewarding human endeavor, I decided to share what I have experienced and observed related to this industrial-aged experiment we call school.
Schools have not kept up with the changing world in which we live nor have they provided peak learning experiences for most children. On the contrary, schools continue to experiment with recycled strategies and so called “research-based” reforms that have little to no impact on student learning. What we see are isolated practices that may bring about small change but nothing substantial or long lasting.
Books are written touting the effects of these “proven” strategies and the writers take their research on the road with an exorbitant price tag to match their claims. Educators flock to the conferences seeking the latest research that might make a difference for students. We then consume these strategies in massive quantities hoping to see results or find the silver bullet that will yank our students up to an acceptable level of performance.
We indoctrinate the teaching ranks on these “highly-effective, research-based” strategies and hope for the kind of transfer that will equate to fewer drop-outs and better test scores. However, what is happening on a regular basis in most schools and what we do quite well is “force-fed” learning. This is replicated every day all over the country and packaged as a “must have” product called school.