Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Are You SchoolKore?

SchoolKore is a movement whose time has come. Teachers, parents, students, administrators, and others are tired of schools functioning as though it is still the 20th century. SchoolKore is an attempt to link student creativity and innovation to economic development. Given the significant role schools play in communities throughout the United States, they clearly are being underutilized as potential catalysts for cultural and economic prosperity. School districts have the physical resources and human capital to change society. More importantly they have the responsibility to do so.

Some critics of this perspective of schools -as -economic -catalysts will point out their primary function is to educate and socialize youngsters into successful citizens. How successful can young people be in an educational setting that is preparing them for an economy that is rapidly changing? If the United States wants to maintian a competitive edge in the globalized economy, it must leverage the talents of young people more effectively than traditional public schools are currently able to. The overwhelming emphasis on standardized testing squanders the resources that could be used to promote economic development. What a waste!

Our students will be so much better off when they work with local businesses, governments, universities, and others to create projects that have immediate benefits to the larger community. Some of these involve alternative energy, arts festivals, robotic competitions, starting new businesses, creating documentaries on marginalized populations. All of these kinds of innovative, out-of-the-box programs/events are examples of SchoolKore. Why are these activities not the norm in most schools? The curriculum should be connected to these kinds of efforts rather than the other way around.

In order to engage the youth of our nation into meaningful participation, we must create a new ideal; one that encourages them to be creative and use their abilities to improve society. The betterment of society can take on many forms other than being good consumers. We do not fundamentally lack the resources for students to change the world rather current social leadership does not have the courage, will, and vision to do so. This is why it will be up to teachers, students, and parents operating to a certain extent outside of the schools to make the necessary changes. The focus of SchoolKore will be on using all available resources, skills, and talents across social divisions such as race, politics, class, gender, etc. to create a movement for transformation.