In a perfect world, I would have invited Sir Ken Robinson to Trinity School on Monday evening for the screening of the acclaimed documentary, Race to Nowhere. Had Robinson been in attendance, he would have witnessed an impressive gathering of teachers and administrators from the Atlanta area. He would have experienced the overwhelming energy as groups of passionate, intelligent educators viewed the film and then discussed various issues related to the academic, social, and emotional pressures that many children face from as early as elementary school and into higher education.
Of all people, why Sir Ken Robinson? Well, he, more than many people I think, truly understands the value of creativity, the importance of a strengths-based approach to education, and the need to innovate fundamentally in schools to create environments where children flourish. His most recent TED Talk, delivered exactly one year ago this month, “Bring on the Learning Revolution,” is a must see, as is the film Race to Nowhere. Both point to the fact that our children are living in (and will inherit) a world that looks very different than the world we knew when we were students (whether we graduated in 20o3 or in 1953). As adults, it is our responsibility to acknowledge this truth and prepare these children for their future.
After last night’s event, what I know for sure is that acknowledgment and preparation cannot happen in isolation. If we are to begin to make the necessary shifts for which both Sir Ken Robinson and Vicki Abeles (Director of Race to Nowhere) advocate, we must work together. Educators must partner with parents. Secondary schools must partner with colleges and universities. Elementary, middle, and high schools–even in the competitive Atlanta market– must work with one another. We must give our children a voice as well. Our children must see that we care enough to gather in conversation and in community, to resist the pull of the status-quo, and to act in ways which increase meaningful learning in schools and decrease meaningless stress.
So, on the heels of an incredibly successful Race to Nowhere event, what’s next? Three things are giving me great hope and enthusiasm that the conversation will continue and that action will quickly follow.
There are “ideas worth spreading” in education. It’s time to add those to ideas to the script that’s dominated by Race to the Top and Waiting for Superman. To learn more about TED_ED, visit this site. You’ll find a brief (but powerful) video and information about the TED_ED Brain Trust.
Trinity School is hosting an additional screening of Race to Nowhere on Tuesday, March 15th. A panel discussion will follow and panelists will be asked to consider the question: Should success be redefined? Just as so many educators gathered on Monday to discuss the issues raised in the film, it is my hope that we will not allow the inertia of our own busy lives to distract us from engaging in this important dialogue. If you would like to register for the event on March 15, register through the Race to Nowhere Screenings Website.
After a productive breakfast with a solid group of educators from three schools in the Atlanta area, I’m excited to announce that we’ve made progress on an idea that was born on January 9th. It has its roots in the3six5 project but there’s a focus on education with a few purposes in mind. We even have a mission statement and hope to launch a beta run in a few weeks.
So, I say, bring on the learning revolution! With TED, RTN, and EDU180ATL, let’s start that transformation that is so desperately needed in our communities, in our schools, and in our homes.