For a while now, I’ve been an advocate of unconventional education. You see, no two people learn the same way, or have the same aptitudes. Each person is unique, and this has been true for a long, long time. However, our educational system is set up to treat each student the exact same and requires our children to act like little adults. It’s small wonder that children grow up hating school.
However, last week, I encountered a psychologist who seemed to understand education in the same way I did. A couple of years ago, he wrote about the “sins” in education. A few of them sounded like typical lefty claptrap to me, but quite a few more struck a chord. You see, apparently this gentleman is involved with a school in California that lets children self direct their studies.
I can hear many of you now. You can’t help but imagine children majoring in Sponge Bob and focusing on art classes rather than learning math and science. I can see where your concern is, however this particular school seems to have a different experience than that. Instead, students seem to push themselves to learn harder and harder things. They actually want to learn, something that so many children in the Dougherty County School System don’t have.
This school, the Sudbury Valley School in Framingham, Mass., sounds a lot like the Montessori Method of education that intrigued me several years ago. Both produce great results and seem to actually encourage children to learn for learning’s sake rather than just trying to push out numbers for a test.
This week, our children are taking the CRCT. It was just a couple years ago when our focus on testing over learning reared its ugly head when several schools were accused of cheating. Teachers pay being tied to results certainly doesn’t help make one feel wonderful about how that mess went down.
Perhaps now it’s time we start focusing on education rather than testing. Maybe it’s time to start looking out how our current methods aren’t exactly working like we dreamed they would. What we really need to do to foster a child’s ingrained desire to learn. Let’s look at what these methods are doing right and replicate it. Dancing inside the box hasn’t help Georgia’s educational rating, so clearly we need to do something different. Throwing money at the problem hasn’t done the trick, so there’s really no need to do more of that.
We need to experiment with education. We need to try new things and experiment with new ideas. Then, perhaps, Georgia can leave the bottom of the listings and lead the nation. Our children deserve no less.
Written by Tom Knighton. Read his blog at TomKnighton.com, as well as SWGAPolitics.com. A lifelong political junkie, Tom started out his adult life as a journalism major at Darton College before leaving school to serve his nation as a U.S. Navy Corpsman. Through the years, he has watched government from outside and inside. A former Reagan supporter, then later a Democrat, Tom now finds himself quite comfortable as a card carrying Libertarian and currently serves as Chairman of the Libertarian Party of Southwest Georgia.