rocking chair circle at Highlander
Visiting a variety of SOS* schools has uncovered thematic clues to their success…success meaning that they continue to survive in a world that consistently squeezes dreams out of your head, tells you that you are an idealist and that you need to acclimate to the “real” world, and demands accountability within punitive constructs, ie: testing, grading, expulsion, insecure job placement, and blaming..
1.shared vision that is continually expressed, investigated, researched, discussed and dissected by everyone in the community.
2. shared leadership/facilitated discussion and decision making
3. love of community and respect and love for people. all of them.
SOS* schools do not sport the old school, top down, plug into the data, no questions asked approach. These kinds of schools will hopefully become relics of the past. They are not working.
Though they are not all the same…and there are different challenges..SOS schools nurture thinking and working with what is known about how people learn. And..it is not a matter of a spiritual “faith” in humankind…but a deep understanding about how people come to the table with knowledge and know how that adds to the richness and challenge of our co-mutual learning curves. (I think it makes us smarter.)
Yesterday we spent the day in the Civil Rights Museum in Birmingham. I was moved. Profoundly. The day before we visited the Highlander Folk School Center and the home of Myles Horton, where noted people of the civil rights movement got together to learn from each other and construct their strategies and aims. It was a hard road that was traveled, but the Civil Rights Movement impacted the world and changed it. The road continues….
I will be home soon..in a bit more than a week.
*schools that can change the world
–Please share your thoughts. Comments are looked forward to.