Geography Shouldn’t Matter

As I dig deeper into Disrupting Class, I’m finding more ideas resonating. This one in particular speaks to the dominant categorization of schools…geography. We place students together mostly because of where they live, not what type of learner they are. This is convenient and cost effective. The same is true for Professional Development. What the web enables is customized, personalized learning.

Christensen talks about the tool of separation, that is the ability to break away from the norm and create new and innovative structures. Charter schools are an example of this. Not that they totally get it right but the challenge facing public education remains the battle of what is and isn’t the right way to reform. This battle, unfortunately, will rage on and likely never resolve itself. What we need are pockets of separation that identify specific niches in learning and truly move to a more individualized approach. Schools that do not feel the constraints of their organizations and the pull they have on meeting rigid, one-size-fits-all-standards.

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  • We do the same thing with age – just because kids are the same age does not mean that they’re learning the same way, or want to learn the same things.

    Ian H.s last blog post..What I read 11/13/2008

  • Dave

    Should students in one district have different math goals than students in another district? Or in a different state? There are lots of geographic divisions of curriculum that don’t make much sense. 🙁

  • Dave and Ian,

    Those are both examples of how we’ve tried to categorize school and learning, by place, by subject and by age. Dave your question about goals is an interesting one. I think that young students often require a more standardized set of skills but quickly individual interests and talents emerge. Not sure at what age but again I think that we’ll begin to see those schools and institutions that can “separate” and create unique and customized offerings will force us to rethink our models. I don’t discount some of what we do but when it comes to geography and age in particular, those are mostly about convenience and efficiency of the system, not what’s best for kids.

  • Raj

    The geography idea used to be somewhat sensible as there was the assumption that a neighborhood school would service a similar SEC and that these SEC would all have similar backgrounds – thinking in the “way way back machine” religion/immigrant based communities. This assumption may have worked for a while, but now as neighbors are increasingly strangers, this model really doesn’t work.

    Charter and specialty schools really do work, unfortunately, these schools seem to be targeted or accessible to those with the means to get to those schools, leaving the lower SEC no better off.

    Rajs last blog post..EPIC RED

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