The biggest point I'd underscore is that when it comes to education, change is local. On monumental challenges like addressing climate change, the actions of any of us depend on the actions of all of us. But that's not the case with school. We can make choices that affect a child, or a particular school, and the consequences don't depend all that much on the actions of millions of others. We can encourage a child to go deep with an interest or a passion, or we can push them to play the game. A school can choose to be bold and innovative, or just keep trying to do more of the same a little bit better. It's really in our hands. And innovation comes in bunches.
It's a lot easier for several teachers in a school to innovate than one lone outlier. A lot easier for several schools in a community to innovate than one 'alternative' school for 'those kids.' And I always remind audiences: Change happens slowly right up until it happens quickly. This is a challenge we can meet. We can reimagine school to make it far more engaging and meaningful for our children, and restore trust to teachers in the classroom. It's right there in front of us, and our children are depending on us to do the right thing.
JB: Thanks so much for talking with me, Ted. It's been a pleasure. What you're calling for is a tsunami of local action, dozens, hundreds, thousands, many thousands of individual actions. This is absolutely doable. Keep inspiring us and holding us accountable as we reimagine what education can be. I'm counting on your revolutionary fervor being extremely contagious!
TD: And thank you for the great questions and for helping spread the word. A fight worth fighting for!!
Thank you, Meryl Ann Butler, OpEdNews Managing Editor, for your editing magic and endless patience!
*I heard Ted speak recently at a FAN (Family Action Network) lecture, part of an ongoing series of outstanding talks for teachers and interested citizens. Check it out here.
What School Could Be: Insights and Inspiration from Teachers Across America, by Ted Dintersmith, Princeton University Press, 2018
Most Likely to Succeed documentary
Most Likely to Succeed trailer
Most Likely to Succeed FaceBook page
Ted's TEDx talk, Fargo, ND: Prepare Our Kids for Life, Not Standardized Tests
Most Likely to Succeed: Preparing Our Kids for the Innovation Era [book] by Ted Dintersmith and Tony Wagner
Great short videos from Ted's website:
The Future of Work [see below for YouTube link]: 2:52 minutes
What Teachers Value: 1:41 minutes