Student Education Proclamation

October 5, 2013

Purpose: to draft a proclamation declaring the desired future for your education and your future children’s education and put forth a recommendation for action.

What is a proclamation?

  • A clear statement taking a stand on an issue or topic
  • A clear explanation of why you are taking this stand
  • A stated action or expectation of the reader/audience

Criteria:

  • concise
  • specific
  • compelling
  • enticing

45 minutes to draft, lets get to work!

We need to clearly explain:

  • What you want to “school” to be (your idealized)
  • What world you need to be prepared for
  • Why current school and current solutions don’t/won’t/can’t work
  • Your call to action - what you want the reader/audience to do.

15

  • Group 1: what picture of education are you wanting to paint? what would you have if you could have what you wanted? (e.g. short targeted statements like: learning driven by interesting projects; internships; flexibility - I can do “school” anytime I want, like 2-8pm.
  • Group 2: what must school prepare you to do? what about school today prevents it from getting you prepared? (e.g. be creative and adaptable/rigid structures of classes, homework, and credits) T-chart
  • Group 3: based on today and your prior thinking and experience, what 3-4 key ideas or drivers would help define a relevant education?  (e.g. Passion-based, Competency-driven, etc.)

10 minutes

  • Group 1: Create a paragraph that creates a compelling picture of the education you want and why it is important to you.
  • Group 2: Whereas statements for paragraph 1.  “Whereas, we the students must be creative, adaptable

They need to:

identify the current mess and convert to “Whereas” statements

craft a “Therefore” statement as to what they want/desired action

PARTIAL EXAMPLE TO FUEL IDEAS:

 

Whereas, the world, and the skills and abilities to thrive in it, have drastically changed in the last decade while government officials and their notion of “school” remains stuck in 20th century constructs, and;

Whereas, the research is clear that student passion and interest matters in learning and that student efficacy, and not success on standardized and decontextualized exams determine future success, and;

Whereas, the structures, processes, measures, and accountability of schools is horribly misaligned to what we need to thrive we. . .

Therefore, we demand that the adults who lead our schools, communities, and local and state governments stop tweaking and toying with the existing system and incentivize and demand a shift to passion-driven, competency-based, project-fueled, and community-facing learning systems. Such a system would mean student choice in the teachers they select to teach them, student ownership of the competencies and standards they are expected to master, assessment and evaluation systems that are reflective of the natural act of learning rather than the unnatural expectation of linear and consistent skill attainment based on age and grade. We demand the right to choose our teachers based on their ability to help us attain the competencies and standards. We demand school policies, procedures, processes and structures that are more about us and less about adult convenience and political expediency.

 

Whereas, the world, and the skills and abilities to thrive in it, have drastically changed in the last decade while government officials and their notion of “school” remains stuck in 20th century constructs, and;

Whereas, the research is clear that student passion and interest matters in learning and that student efficacy, and not success on standardized and decontextualized exams determine future success, and;

Whereas, students in today’s educational system are categorized into groups based on their age, instead of being categorized based on their intellectual abilities.  Because of this, there are students who are falling behind because they are just being passed along without a second thought, simply because they are supposed to be in a certain grade.  Students may not be as good in one subject as they are in others and they deserve the opportunity to excel in subjects that they are good at and get extra help with the subjects that they may be falling behind in.    

Whereas, students are currently able to memorize information or facts for exams. They are then able to discard such learning due to lack of use or reinteration in the classroom in the future. It creates an apathy in students regarding their work because they have no longer term use for such skills or information.

Whereas, Grading systems should no longer rain upon us, for that we our own selves control our fate. Where government does not rule but the people do. We should and NEED to be able control our learning and our learning process. Grades hold us back by telling us that we aren’t good enough, or that we are who others want us to be. We, the future of this world, should be able to live without the judgement of others, without the worry of grades, and with the knowledge that we have a say in our lives. Grades create the idea that failing is wrong and unjust, but failure is what leads to success. Success is, without failure, nothing but a word. Without dark, there is no light. Grading is a one time thing, but when grading doesn’t exist, you can keep trying over and over again until you get it right. Information shouldn’t become mandatory, but should become a choice, and grading makes it so you think you have to do something to get something right, just to make yourself feel better, or to get what you want. Grading, all in all, is made to make people feel that they need to get better at something, but they never can, unless they are given their freedoms. -Miguel Jacobo (swampoleaon@gmail.com)

Whereas, students in our education system are just shuffled through classes whether or not they get it.  The kids who don’t learn as fast don’t get the time to learn all of the material; and those who already know it have to wait for everyone else to catch up.  There is basically no in between pace.  All students should get the opportunity to learn at their own pace rather than have to adjust to the teacher’s style.  Also, there needs to be some sort of pretest at the beginning of each chapter in a class in order to get a feel for who gets it and who doesn’t.  That way, the teacher would know which students could move along and which ones they need to spend more time with.

Students are not in control of their own learning…

The school is designed in the image of the factory for the factory age. Standardized, efficient, assembly line…

What we’d have if we could have what we wanted…

Therefore, we demand that  the adults who lead our schools, communities, and local and state governments put students at the forefront of all educational decisions. We demand that students be included as equal stakeholders at all levels of the decision-making process, and that school policies, procedures, processes and structures are more about us and less about adult convenience and political expediency.

We demand an education system in which:

  • the school “day” starts and ends fluidly, with a limited amount of structure that enables instruction to be highly individualized.
  • we get to learn about what we want, when we want.
  • we are expected to meet certain standards and competencies, but at our own pace and when we learned it we would continue to move on.
  • whenever and wherever we “learn” something, it “counts.”
  • we assume that all people like to learn (learning is as natural an act as breathing) - if all learn the way the learn best through the things they are passionate about, all will be able to learn the things society deems important.
  • the teacher is a guide whose job is to ensure that students are learning important concepts and ideas as they explore their projects.
  • there is be less judgement from adults and more collaboration.
  • the system holds our interests and potential in high esteem
  • hands-on, project-oriented, relevant learning (apprenticeships, that ensure students meet competencies and standards- they can actually “do” with what they “know”
  • there is movement through the system is based upon learning needs.
  • we engage in personalized learning by working in diverse teams.
  • learning happens in a myriad of areas - in the coffee shop, at home, in a place with many others, on-line, in the “field,” etc.
  • there is no such thing as “missing” a day or a class because the learning is personalized. Things wouldn’t move on in a cadence that left people behind.
  • choice, flexibility, and self-direction develop appropriately as we mature.

We believe if adults heed the call of Iowa’s students and redesign our schools around these premises, education will be much more valuable to us and truly empower us for success in the 21st century.


BOLD: "An Education Proclamation from the Students of Iowa"  BOLD

Whereas, the world, and the skills and abilities to thrive in it, have drastically changed in the last decade while government, well-financed reformers, and their notion of “school” remains stuck in 20th century constructs and assumptions about learning and school, and;

Whereas, the research is clear that student passion and interest matters in learning and student efficacy, and not success on standardized and decontextualized exams determine future success, and;

Whereas, in today’s educational system we are categorized into groups based on our age, instead of being categorized based on our intellectual gifts, abilities, and personal interests and skills.  Because of this, many of us are falling behind because we are just being passed along without a second thought, simply because we are supposed to be in a certain grade at a certain time.  We may not be as good in one subject as others are and we deserve the opportunity to excel in subjects we are good at and get extra help with the subjects we may need more time and different ways to learn. We are tired of being reduced to a once-a-year measure that tells us or anyone else little about who we are and what we are capable of, and;    

Whereas, we are currently required to memorize information or facts for exams and increasingly our teachers are forced to reduce what should be interesting and engaging learning to test preparation and memorization. After all this, we are able to simply discard such learning due to its lack of use or relevancy for us today or in the future. Such a silly and elementary scoring accountability system creates apathy in students regarding their work and the effort they put forth on your obsolete tests because we have no long term use for such skills or information, and;

Whereas, we should and need to be able control our learning and our learning process. Grade- levels and grading practices hold us back by telling us we aren’t good enough, or that we aren't who others want us to be. We, the future of this world, should be able to live without the constant judgement and evaluation of others, without the worry of grades, and with the knowledge we have a say in our lives. Grades create the idea that failing is wrong and must be avoided, but it is failure and the lessons it provides that leads to success. Success by piling up points and grades is hollow and unfulfilling. Grading is a one time thing, but when grading doesn’t exist, you can keep trying over and over again until you get it right. Grading makes you think you have to do something to get something right the first time to get what you want. Grading, all in all, is designed to sort us out and unfairly categorize, label, and limt us, and;

Whereas, our educational system just shuffles us through classes whether or not we get it, are ready for it, or have an interesting hook to connect it all to.  Those of us who don’t learn as fast don’t get the time to learn all of the material; and those who already know it have to wait for everyone else to catch up. The entire system is designed and evaluated on its ability to create sameness and standardization in a world led by diversity and creativity.  All of us should get the opportunity to learn at our own pace rather than have to adjust to the arbitrary timelines that date back to 1890. We should have more choice about who teaches us and how we access information and learn important content and concepts.

Therefore, we demand that the adults leading our schools, communities, and local and state governments put students at the forefront of all educational decisions rather than politics, money, or the ridiculous ideas of those without a vested interest in Iowa and your children. We demand students be included as equal stakeholders at all levels of the decision-making process, and that school policies, procedures, processes and structures are more about us and less about adult convenience and political expediency.

Given the rapid pace of change and the need for you to help us prepare for a world vastly different than yours and unknown to all of us, we demand an education system in which:

  • the school “day” starts and ends fluidly, with a limited amount of structure enabling instruction to be highly individualized.
  • we get to learn about what we want, when we want, with professional educators ensuring we learn important concepts and content along the way - a system ensuring our competency, not simply our compliance.
  • we are expected to meet certain standards and competencies, but at our own pace and when we learn it we would continue to move on.
  • whenever and wherever we “learn” something, it “counts.”
  • we assume all people like to learn (learning is as natural an act as breathing, after all) when they are engaged in things they are passionate about and will learn the things society deems important through those passions and interests.
  • the teacher is a guide whose job is to ensure that students are learning important concepts and ideas as they explore their projects and interests.
  • there is less judgement from adults and more collaboration and coaching.
  • the system holds our interests and potential in high esteem by focusing on building our sense of efficacy and ability to meet high expectations.
  • hands-on, project-oriented, relevant learning, such as apprenticeships, that ensure students meet competencies and standards that they can actually “do” with what they “know."
  • there is movement through the system is based upon learning needs.
  • we engage in personalized learning by working in diverse teams.
  • learning happens in a myriad of places - in the coffee shop, at home, in a place with many others, on-line, in the “field,” etc.
  • there is no such thing as “missing” a day or a class because the learning is personalized. Things wouldn’t move on in a cadence that left people behind.
  • choice, flexibility, and self-direction develop appropriately as we mature.

We believe if adults heed the call of Iowa’s students and redesign our schools around these premises, education will be much more valuable to us and truly empower us for success in the 21st century. We are counting on you to do what's right - our high expectation of you is that you step up and show us that you care about us and the future of Iowa.

-The Students of Iowa