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The Power of Organizing to Change Schools in America

It's being a way long since I wasn't able to read a post like Chris Lehmann's wrote last week. He's been reading Clay Shirky's book Here Comes Everybody and looks at how some of those principles can be applied to facilitating change in schools; Lehmann is sure that some of the frustration about change shows up when you compare it to the blinding speed of change in so many other facets of our evolving society right now.

A continuation we reproduce a paragraph we think, calls everyone to take action, because as Lehmann says, 'hard' shouldn't be the reason we don't do it!

"We could use the tools we have to start a call for change. We could look to set up a core set of principles for school reform that harnesses the best pedagogies and the new tools. We could look to build a coalition of administrators, teachers, parents and students to take action in the upcoming campaign. What might it look like? Shirky points out that for collective action to work, the action must require enough effort on the part of those taking action that decision-makers take notice. We could all go to used bookstores and look for old, beat-up textbooks and send them to our Congressmen with a flyer saying, "Is this how students should learn in 2008?" and a list of our core principles and goals. We could coordinate it all with Web 2.0 tools. We could follow up with an online petition to the McCain and Obama campaigns asking for a presidental debate on educational issues."

That's not a secret, the rapid pace of technological innovation has affected virtually every sector of the American marketplace – except education. Today’s schools look largely the same as they did a century ago. There may be more Internet access and more computers in classrooms, but the traditional public educational model – one teacher guiding a large group of students through a lesson – has not changed, at all.

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