This general session was jam-packed with inspirational speakers who each directly spoke to the conference theme of advancing our public purpose. Liz Coleman nearly laid me flat with her comments because they were so incredibly smart and forward-reaching. Her comments about the following are what I will take away as I think about taking action:
-Education should be an engagement of our students around the questions of “What kind of world are we making? What kind of world should we be making? What kind of world can we be making?”
-Education does not to be frenzied or to feel like a mad rush on a treadmill. It can be about producing both good and successful citizens of the world.
-We made these schools. We can unmake them. We can remake them.
– Imagine what could happen if we do our remaking right? Imagine what will happen if we don’t?
Anya Kamenetz focused on why education must change if we truly wish to reach the 400 million children with inadequate access to school.
Salman Kahn wowed the crowd with snapshots of possibilities for education which undoes the mistakes of the past and present. He showed us models designed to educate for mastery so all students have the same access to academic excellence. He challenged us to see teachers as mentors and to organize our classrooms around the student/valuable-time-with-teacher ratio as opposed to the student/teacher ratio that we consider and talk about so much.
I left the session feeling like I wish this “advancing our public purpose” theme could continue at next year’s AC, because I need more time and help to learn and translate these ideas into action.