Our world has been transformed again and again in my lifetime and the new day for education is also beginning. There have been attempts to change education, the last one driven by Bill Gates and Race to the Top funding of Common Core standards and Teacher Evaluation. There is significant push back for good reason which I and many others noted. What I am interested in today is what I can do to help. I have a plan.
As children learn to read and compute, they also learn to communicate, get along with others, be creative and persuasive and to collaborate to prevent and solve problems. These skills are subtle, difficult to measure, yet essential in preparing students to enjoy life, contribute, learn and prosper. Recently on the Colbert Report, the mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio, stated 46% of the city’s population struggle financially to live there. Free pre-k begins this year for all children living in NYC. It is leadership in action and will show other cities the benefit of investing in human capital.
Another way to invest in human capital is to train teams of students to work in their school communities as agents of change. This is part of the plan I intend to implement in my home community, Memphis. It is a model that will work in any community and I expect it to spread.
I have written about the student leadership model at length in this blog, but briefly, I train a team of students who then, in pairs, train teams from other schools in communication and performance. The theme is violence prevention. I have done this successfully in the past and it is powerful on many levels. It builds students’ skill sets and provides an avenue for introducing ideas like Resilience and Prevention into the adult and student population. It also gives hope to the community as they watch healthy, happy students perform and teach one another.
It is a new school year and a new day for education. We all have a part to play. What is your part?