Playing with Other People’s Futures in Education

I’ve attended events similar to this one, as described by Jackie Roman in the Valley Breeze:

Plans to give Smithfield’s education facilities, mainly the elementary schools, a facelift are coming to fruition. …

The event was attended by Smithfield administrators, teachers, government officials, parents, and even a few elementary school students.

“We are crafting ideas of what defines the future of teaching and learning,” [Frank Locker of Frank Locker Educational Planning] said.

That sounds good, and to some extent, of course, government schools must plan for the future.  But the whole endeavor raises a basic question: What qualifies these people to “define the future of teaching and learning”?

A follow-on question is what stake, really, these people have in the outcome, such that they might pursue what works, rather than what feels good?  That’s a problem endemic to all government activities.

It’s very easy, and disproportionately fulfilling, for people to sit around and imagine what a wonder the future could be.  But unless families are empowered to reject those plans by sending their children elsewhere, the folks “crafting ideas of what defines the future of teaching and learning” are just playing with other people’s lives.

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