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Chelsea Alley

Core-Integrated Creative Dance Specialist K-6, Provo School District

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Revolution in Education. Let's talk specifics... What can we really do?

As an integrated-arts teacher in the public education system, I love how inspiring and galvanizing these talks can be. Yes, we all realize America's education system isn't quite doing what we want it to do. And speakers like the magnificent Sir Ken Robinson have a wonderful way of illuminating ideas and increasing the desire to make the changes we so desperately need. But these talks tend to sweep grandly over the general nature of the thing. I listen to them and I'm like, "Yeah! PREACH. It's all true! .... Aaaaand ....now what?"

So, let's talk details. As educators, as students, as parents, as citizens... what ideas are out there for actually implementing the revolution that Sir Ken and others like him are calling for? I mean, really. What can we actually do?

I don't want to believe that nothing can be done, but it's difficult for me to imagine what can be done. It's such a large system, so steeped in tradition, continuously shifting towards more and more national standardization, and I'm left feeling a little overwhelmed. What is within our power? What are some good, viable ideas, models, and propositions for actually applying this "revolution" in the daily education experience?

http://www.ted.com/talks/ken_robinson_how_to_escape_education_s_death_valley
http://www.ted.com/talks/sir_ken_robinson_bring_on_the_revolution

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    Jun 6 2014: "So this is part of what we're up against when we're trying to support a more egalitarian system of education: "whether a student graduates or not seems to depend today almost entirely on just one factor — how much money his or her parents make.... it will always be the case that the kids who have need are going to have been denied a lot of the academic preparation and opportunities for identity formation that the affluent kids have been given." I can speak to that from experience."

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/18/magazine/who-gets-to-graduate.html?_r=0
    • Jun 6 2014: Theodore,

      I clicked the link and it was about graduating college. I am trying to understand your comment. By the way, you forgot one study that indicates if the student is Asian and being raised in an Asian family, they are most likely to graduate from High School and College, regardless of poverty level.
    • Jun 7 2014: Theodore,

      I am not sure what your experience is but

      1. At University, I saw many smart students fail because they were not ready for the competition.
      2. I gave my entering freshman students a simple math test, two examples are 1/2 + 1/3 =?, 2+3*4 = ?
      Over 25% got both answers wrong - It was the only time I gave a multiple choice test.
      3. I have been part of 2 mentoring program - one an enrichment program for students to challenge them more and one to aid struggling students. The major difference between the two groups seemed the parents (not sure if the educational system can overcome the difference). It seemed that many of the struggling students did not know where the public library was or have a library card. They never saw adults reading books, newspapers, etc. They never heard discussions about history or current events at home. Most of the students in the advanced class had their library card and had spent hours in the library and borrowed book.
      • Jun 7 2014: Perhaps proles simply beget proles and would hate any child of theirs who didn't likewise become just another prole. Maybe they want jocks and cheerleaders as children not people who can actually read a book, or sign their own name without assistance.
        • Jun 8 2014: One hopes there is a way to break the cycle.

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