Sometimes you have to color outside the lines

The standardization of schooling, the frenzied pursuit of accountability that leads to prescribed curricula, textbooks and relentless testing, was not driven by those most intimately involved in the educational endeavor – teachers, parents, or young people – but corporate CEO’s and powerful foundations and mass media.

Ron Miller – The Self-Organizing Revolution pg. 56

I colored inside the lines for a long time.

I was taught to do so and rarely questioned that directive. Why should I?  Who am I to question those who know best, those who have authority and power in the schooling world?

At an early but unknown moment in life, it occurred to me that I actually had a mind of my own. I discovered that I could ask  questions that most people in authority or power didn’t like – questions that often started with something like this: Why are we doing this?

As one in authority, I fielded those kinds of questions on several occasions. I provided, what I considered, thoughtful responses even when I didn’t always believe them myself. I safely stayed within the lines.

From time to time, I pushed the crayon beyond the normal limits hoping to share with others the exhilarating freedom that comes from reimagining the picture itself. With regard to school practices, I soon discovered that coloring outside the lines is akin to educational heresy. It is just not done, because, “we have always done it this way.”

Pushing the envelope of change is a major undertaking. Gathering consensus on issues as fundamental as the right to learn, is nearly impossible. That is why there are so many different school choices; public, private, charter, homeschooling, unschooling, etc.

I long for a time when learning is not legislated, forced, or wrapped in the same, “must-have” package for all children.

I long for the time when teachers, parents and young people can chart their own course for learning. A course not hindered by corporate CEO’s, powerful foundations with agendas, and mass media that serve up “fast food” school bites on a regular basis.

I no longer color inside the lines. The picture is far more impressive and stunning when I don’t.

crayon pic


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