1. I’m beginning to shift away from language of ‘school.’ I am framing the equation toward learning and schools is a learning community. Part of my vision is a road map for disciplinary literacy which includes at the top ‘portrait of a graduate.’ And disciplinary literacy doesn’t just mean reading in the content area. It means being able to read, write, listen, and speak so that kids are thinking and doing. Thus, the goal is learning about self and the world that surrounds them in order to see how they fit in the world. Abstract but that is what my job as a HS Principal is about now into the years ahead.
    Language makes a huge difference.

  2. John Bennett

    The K-12 diploma has meaning because the learners are told it has meaning. As you note, it’s often a requirement for getting job interviews – necessary of course for gaining employment. It’s a requirement to get into a college or university. It’s very often seen as a measure of your potential. Even within families, it’s a ‘requirement’ – high on the “to do” list, along with learning to speak, developing hygiene and fitness habits, …

    Sadly, getting the diploma, as well as the other requirements and ‘benefits’ listed above (and others not included), are indeed seen as terminal events in one’s life. The truth is, none of them, NONE, can be Considered as terminal IF anyone seeks to optimize her/his life in terms of service to others – and thus, in turn, to themself.

    In particular, the K-12 diploma is probably (there are an increasing number of home schooled learners with none) NECESSARY to get a job interview, to obtain college admission. But is far from SUFFICIENT to achieve either of those, even less sufficient to have success in career or personal life.

    I hope it doesn’t get to a point where the diploma needs to be eliminated in order for students (and those influencing their beliefs) to understand that the K-12 diploma is a piece of paper, an acknowledgement of where a person is on their life journey. The K-12 diploma has a very few entitlements; success (regardless of the operable definition of that success) in either personal life or career is NOT one of those entitlements of the K-12 diploma.

    [ASIDE: I’m Emeritus Faculty after 29+ years in education. Colleges, their students, the students’ families, policy people, and indeed EVERYONE must likewise understand that the entitlements of a college diploma are also few in number. For college students, I’ve been promoting what I’m calling an Optimized Overall Educational Experience or OOEE (https://link.medium.com/7va1NA5TOZ) that can – I’d say MUST – be accomplished while completing diploma requirements AND that will improve the likelihood of success in career and personal life.

    Students and all others involved with K-12 education can Consider OOEE for K-12 efforts that certainly can be made that will more likely lead to success in personal life and career. I AM WORKING AT DEVELOPING AN “OOEE K-12 APPROACH” and will be posting my thoughts soon.]

  3. I agree with this mindset, completely. I have often pointed out that infants and toddlers have always had permission from their doctors to take their first steps when they are ready, say their first word when they are ready, stop taking naps when they are ready and all are normal while on individual timelines. Then all of a sudden they turn 5 and enter school buildings and something in the universe changes. Suddenly we turn 5 and we ALL have exactly 180 days to uniformly master the exact same criteria or we become behind or unmotivated. YES…the more logical way is to seek to underatand individual interests and talents and enrich THOSE skills within the 13 years we have them in the school system. Of course we do not live in a utopian society where we can really make this a reality, but as you said, it is something to really think about….5 year old robots…is this the new artificial intelligence?

  4. David S. Hill

    It starts with grades in the elementary years…we now use growth indicators. I am not against a type of certificate of completion but what we use to measure “success” is so skewed and flawed (not to mention inherently biased) with current thinking. Time to dramatically shift the paradigm and focus on the process, with students intricately linked and responsible for their own learning.

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