Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Manifesto I’d Like My Future Principal To Read: Stop Stealing Dreams

I often find Seth Godin provocative, and this education manifesto is no exception. I don’t think he’s right about everything, but the direction he’s suggesting appears to me to be a better one than the direction our schools are currently headed. In a series of short posts, I’m going to excerpt and briefly comment on different sections of the manifesto that I’d like my future principal to consider when thinking about the direction that Arapahoe High School needs to move as we go forward.

First up is Section Three: Back to (the wrong) school. In this section Godin appears to pull heavily from Gatto as he describes the impetus for compulsory education. While that’s interesting and useful, here’s the quote I’d most like my future principal to ponder:
As we get ready for the ninety-third year of universal public education, here’s the question every parent and taxpayer needs to wrestle with: Are we going to applaud, push, or even permit our schools (including most of the private ones) to continue the safe but ultimately doomed strategy of churning out predictable, testable, and mediocre factory workers?

As long as we embrace (or even accept) standardized testing, fear of science, little attempt at teaching leadership, and most of all, the bureaucratic imperative to turn education into a factory itself, we’re in big trouble.

The post-industrial revolution is here. Do you care enough to teach your kids to take advantage of it?
We’re preparing students for a whole that no longer exists. A factory model of education isn’t what our kids need, yet it’s difficult to picture what the alternative is (at least it is for many of us to picture what that might look like at any kind of scale). So I’d like my future principal to lead our staff, students and community in a discussion of how we get to there (wherever “there” is) from here

Clearly if you designed a school from scratch today it would look very different than what our current schools look like. So that begs the question, why do we accept the current design just because it's already been created?


  1. Well said Karl. Glad it resonated.

  2. Thanks Seth, appreciate the comment. I'll hopefully be writing a few more posts on some additional sections of the manifesto over the next few weeks.

  3. spot on.
    we know too much.. no?