I wanted to challenge our instructional technology team this year by reading a book. Last year’s book looked at strong instructional practices, but this book will challenge the status quo.
We’re reading Ted Dintersmith’s What School Could Be and for each chapter I want to make a blog post capturing my thoughts.
Dintersmith starts by profiling a visit to a school—one he doesn’t name but insists is typical for many suburban areas across the country—that on paper looks very successful.
The school has high test scores and everyone who wants to go, goes to college.
But then he questions the type of experiences students are having and wonders if the whole enterprise of school, and specifically here high school, might be improved?
He suggests that the skills students are walking away from at schools like this are “useless in the innovation era.” He says that these schools and students are the “fool’s gold of America’s education system.”
After visiting Canada, he met with folks who suggested “Children need to learn to leverage machine intelligence, not replicate its capacity to perform low-level tasks.” He goes on talking about the near future where many labor jobs will be replaced by technology, that humans will compete with machines for jobs.
Dintersmith blames the era of No Child Left Behind and the culture of testing in addition to the college admissions process as two factors that stymie innovation in schools. The rest of the book, I hope, offers a view of some alternatives to “Eisenhower High.”
I’m excited about our work with coding and our still young computer science program at GHS. I feel we are innovating in Goochland Schools and look forward to new ideas.