Learning in Mind

Rethinking the Purpose of Education

Articles About Current Issues In Education

Our discussion of current issues in education includes a wide range of articles on the elitist myth of of success, our growing disconnection with nature, common factors that make learner-centered, holistic schools effective, the difference between "equal access" and "equal fit", as well as several articles on the danger of labeling learners.

Equal Fit Increases Opportunity

Adjustable car seats, clothing and shoes to fit a wide range of sizes and shapes, a nearly infinite range of food products to suit every taste, furniture to fit a wide variety of functions and preferences—these are just a few of the ways in which our culture recognizes that one size does NOT fit all. Given that human brains are infinitely diverse, why does public education continue to promote one-size-fits-all standards and teaching methods that fit only those students with narrowly-defined "academic" intelligence? What needs to change to offer each child the educational "fit" he or she needs for success? What does "school choice" really mean?

Honors Night

This article points out the elitist values exemplified by the tradition of Honors Night.

Every Student Succeeds! …By Whose Definition?

The latest incarnation of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, passed by Congress in late 2015, is entitled "Every Student Succeeds!" Yet success remains undefined, yet continues to be described in terms of test scores, college degrees, and high-paying jobs in a white-color profession. This article asks why taxpayers continue to support a system of public education that fails to support each individual's personal definition of success.

Are Public Schools Really Failing? And If So, Why?

This article argues that the rhetoric about failing schools, teachers, and students should be met with a question. If the word fail means “to be unsuccessful in achieving one's goal," what goal have schools, teachers, and students failed to achieve? Whose goal was it in the first place? And more important, was that goal ever achievable? 

School Choice: Asking the Wrong Questions!

The argument for school choice goes like this: Public schools are failing, so parents should be able to choose other schools for their children. The options offered include charter schools, or vouchers that will help parents pay for the tuition at private/independent...and even religious...schools. This is a remarkable example of creating enough smoke to obscure the question parents should be asking. Why do public schools continue to mandate failing one-size-fits-all standardized education instead of giving parents and children choice WITHIN public education?

Common Factors in Effective Learner-Centered Schools

This article is the result of a 9,000 mile trip around the United States with the purpose of visiting a wide range of learner-centered schools. The mission of these schools is to educate the whole child [physical, mental, emotional, social, creative, spiritual (knowledge of self), and natural (connection with nature)]. The common factors found in the most impressive of these schools are described.

The Danger of Labeling Learners

Schools are hotbeds of categorization—labeling. Honors, gifted, remedial, BD, ADHD, differently-abled, overachievers, underachievers… Worse, because many educators tend to focus on what needs to be "fixed" in a student, rather than on what already works well, those labels often force teachers into negative perceptions. The labels inhibit teachers from perceiving the strengths of the student, as well as creating unwarranted expectations in both the student and others. Includes research on the negative effects of labeling, as well as the "pros and cons" of labeling.

Why Label Learners?

Labels arise from "group-think"…from perceiving learners in groups. What do labels such as "slow learner," "ADHD," and "gifted" actually describe? This article explains how such labels arise from the Academic Achievement paradigm, and why they falsely describe individuals. The possibility of a label-free school based on the Human Development paradigm is discussed.

Disconnected from Nature: A Cautionary Tale

Author Richard Louv has coined the term "nature-deficit disorder" to describe the growing alienation of our children from nature. In this article based on the work of Dr. Michael Cohen, we learn about our 56 "natural attraction" senses. Cohen argues that, when humans began to see themselves as "apart" from nature because of their supposed intelligence, they disrupted the balance of nature. Seeing nature as a resource to be used and manipulated for human purposes has not only created conditions that threaten human life, but alienated us from the very real, but non-verbal, knowledge we obtain from nature. Until the verbal and non-verbal are reunited, our perceptions will necessarily be incomplete.

If there are any other issues that you'd like to see discussed, please let us know!

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