10 July 2008

Association for Cognitive Dissociation

Michael Kaufman and I used to be on the board of the local Deming User Group. I've always liked the way he thinks. In his latest post, he comments about how attempts to change schools so often fail. He writes,

"I would contend the reason schools and schooling is the way it is - is because of the initial conditions that were present when the idea of free public schooling was conceived. In other words, the patterns established at the early stages of the development of the schooling system are the very same patterns that make it difficult, if not impossible, for schools and schooling to do the things on the list above [suggested changes and improvements]."

I wonder to what extent the problem is one of labeling. When we say schools, we all know what we mean - and we mean what we already have. By contrast, it would be fascinating to define a learning institution with a completely different name, like "Preparatory Institute for Great Happiness and Empowerment," or "Organization for Mind Altering Perceptions," or "A Place of Self Actualization and Occasional Humiliation."

If, by contrast, traditional schools were re-labeled as what they actually are, it might inspire everyone to gravitate away from them. For instance, "Room of Continual Tedium," or "The Institute for the Management of Mediocrity," might more accurately describe some traditional schools.

So, faithful readers (you two know who you are), what labels would encourage schools to transform? Ideas?


Lifehiker said...

How about "Institute of Information, Argument, and Certification"?

I would very much prefer a system where levels of understanding and performance are standardized but the means of "being educated" to those levels is up to the student and whoever helps guide them.

At a minimum, grade levels should be abolished and replaced with performance levels so that students can progress at their own rate in each subject area. That would be a new pattern!

Ron Davison said...

I like the idea of holding kids to particular standards rather than specific schedules.

cce said...

I'm not sure I have the answers as to how to fix public schooling with proper labeling or otherwise. It seems to me that the whole thing could be called Barely Controlled Chaos. Or at least that's how the third grade looked for my O...staff and students just all getting by.

Ron Davison said...

cce's boy goes to the bcc. You know, that sort of makes sense.