Marilyn Robb—International Commonality Reference Person for Educational Change

Educational Change

The educational-change constituency is everyone, because at the heart of educational change is reclaiming our intelligence and joy for learning. No matter what kind of school or education system we’ve experienced, none of us have escaped hurts that interfere with our intelligence and capacity to learn.

PROBLEMS IN EDUCATION

Everything that happens in the world affects educational systems and what happens in schools. Those of us who do educational-change work, though we work in different places and are of different cultures, face common problems. The list is long:

  • Schools in poorer communities lack the resources to provide children with an education comparable to that available in wealthier communities. This widens the gap between the classes.
  • When there is a downturn in the economy, schools are among the first institutions to feel the crunch. Programs get cut, especially in non-academic subjects that are important for students’ development—like the arts, physical education, and music. Teachers lose their jobs.
  • The education system and young people’s well-being get caught in the middle of politics. The undischarged distresses of those who set policy interfere with good decisions.
  • Racism, classism, and sexism are embedded in the education system. They rear their ugly heads in every place, at every level—in classrooms, teachers’ staff rooms, and administrators’ meetings and at the school, district, state, and country levels.
  • Educators have yet to figure out how to make curriculum be about the students. Students are forced to learn uninteresting and meaningless things in ways that do not fit their learning styles.
  • Most education systems use some form of standardised testing, and it usually begins early in students’ lives. A teacher’s “worth” is determined by tests results, and joy in learning is killed when the sole purpose of school is to pass tests.
  • Teachers lack adequate training and support for the jobs that they do.
  • There are too many students per class. Decreasing class size is an obvious solution, but how to do it eludes decision makers and policy setters.
  • It is teachers who largely determine the quality of education, yet heavy oppression makes it difficult for them to remain in the profession. If they do remain, their day-to-day experience is usually not fulfilling.
  • Students can rarely influence what happens in schools.

EDUCATIONAL CHANGE AND RC

Educational-change work in RC is about creating a fair and just world—one school at a time. Those of us committed to it must find contradictions to and hold directions against two major distresses: discouragement and feeling overwhelmed. It can seem overwhelming to consider changing even one classroom or one school.

We must make it possible for everyone to be part of an RC Community. We must figure out how to have good schools for everyone. And let’s keep poor people, in particular, in mind as we decide, act, and discharge toward a just society.

We cannot give up. Changing education is changing the world.

Marilyn Robb

International Commonality Reference
Person for Educational Change

St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago

 


Last modified: 2019-05-02 14:41:35+00