Voyager March 2019

March 14, 2019

Yo-Yo Ma

Passion is one great force that unleashes creativity, because if you're passionate about something, then you're more willing to take risks.

Dear Learner-Centered Leaders,

Last week, I was in attendance at SXSW EDU. Considering it was my fourth year in a row attending the event, I was struck by the still sizable visibility and celebration of innovative reform.

As many of you know, we differentiate between innovation (iterating on the current standardized models and systems of education) and invention (the creation of new learner-centered models and systems). Invention requires a shift in how we view the purpose of education. It requires us to shift our expected outcomes from every child receiving a high school diploma to all kids recognizing and harnessing their ability to fulfill their unique potential.

As the learner-centered movement accelerates, we are determined to replace the standardized one-size-fits-all testing regime as the main metric for deciding whether a child, teacher, or school is “successful.” That determination has launched a brand new line of work for Education Reimagined—partnering, as always, with stakeholders (including young learners) from across the country.

Days before SXSW EDU, Education Reimagined began a year-long inquiry into this question of outcomes—what are the outcomes we want to hold a learner-centered education system accountable for and how would we know whether those outcomes were met? With 30 learner-centered leaders gathered in Washington, DC, we used our first meeting together to surface any assumptions that might be unknowingly driving our view of outcomes back to the current paradigm. Some of the most interesting assumptions in the current system are:

  • The evidence of learning must be comparable and able to rank young people and school across groups of schools or young people, or we assume the evidence of learning is not valid.
  • We must have standardized, prescribed outcomes to ensure equity.
  • You only know something if you can write or say what you know. And relatedly, if you can’t write or say it, you don’t know it.
  • The outcomes that can’t be measured (regardless of the measurement mechanism) don’t matter.

We are excited to be in a conversation with the space to question our assumptions and invent a new notion of outcomes that can recognize the learning and accomplishment of young people in lots of new ways.

Enjoy this issue!
Kelly Young

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