I’ve always thought that education and schooling are two very different things. Education broadens horizons, requires us to think deeply and opens us up to a better understanding of our world as a whole. Schooling can be something very different. Schooling is less ambitious and often more focussed. Schooling is about obedience and skills. While we may sometimes arrive at schooling in what we do, I strongly believe that education should be our aim.
That’s one reason why I was disappointed to see this series of tweets come from Brian Crosby’s account over the past few days:
It certainly wasn’t Brian that I was disappointed in. I’ve been fortunate enough to spend some time with Brian and find him to be a passionate, interested educator who is a solid advocate for the kids he teaches and the community that he lives in. Brian makes no bones about the fact that his school services a population where the majority of the kids live in poverty, where many of them speak English as a second language, and where they work very hard to keep kids in the building and on track.
And yet, in his classroom, he is only allowed to teach reading, math and writing.
Do these kids need reading, math and writing? You bet. of course they do. All kids do. But they also desperately need an understanding of history and civics. They need to understand scientific developments and how their world functions. They need to know the world is filled with passionate artists that give our lives meaning and hope.
At what point is this not education? I don’t even think this is aiming at education. That’s why I’m so disappointed in this. Sometimes we arrive at places we don’t want to go. We miss our aim. We’re human. We make mistakes. But at least we aim high in our beliefs about humanity.
This on the other hand is something completely different. Is this the limited vision of the world that we want the kids who live in our complex global time in history to be working towards?