Wednesday, February 15, 2012

It's Time For Progressives to Stop Talking About "School Reform": School Revitalization Is What We Need

It's Time For Progressives to Stop Talking About "School Reform": School Revitalization Is What We Need

It's time for progressives to cede the term "School Reform" to those promoting testing and privatization and declare our commitment to "School Revitalization." Not only has the term "School Reform" been corrupted by policies which have taken power away from teachers and parents, but the language -Re FORM- suggest that it is the structure of the school that is problematic rather than the atmosphere and it's connection to the surrounding community. Those of us seeking to revitalize schools look to bring in all resources available, from local community groups as well as universities and non profits, to make learning and teaching more dynamic and have schools and neighborhoods grow stronger together. We do not seek to have schools compete with one another under threat of closure, but work together to help all of them progress simultaneously. Re-FORM initiatives divide communities, Re VITALIZATION strategies will unite them to maximize their cultural vitality and political influence. There is a great initiative of this kind taking place on Buffalo's East Side under the direction of Dr Henry Taylor at SUNY Buffalo's Center for Urban Studies and we need more efforts of this kind which transform schools and neighborhoods together.Let them Re-Form. We need to Re-Vitalize!


Unknown said...

An excellent point -last year, I made a similar point at Truthout:

Unlike you, though, I did not yet offer an alternative phrase, which I think is a critical step in reframing the education debate. I really like "School Revitalization." Also, perhaps another Diane Ravitch mentioned, "School Renaissance" (which implies bringing back the arts, and creating a well-rounded curriculum and well-rounded students.)

Keep up the great work!
Adam Bessie

Mark Naison said...

Thanks Adam School Revitalization and School Renaissance both work for me!