An Errant Declaration of Educational Mission

Upon review, it seems as though “mission statements” are succinct (though that begs the question as to what use they are); I’m not sure who decided a mission statement needs to be brief.   Brief statements made in service to institutional aims tend to be rather full of buzzwords of the moment.  In essence they are intended to appear authoritative and knowing but are meaningless and inapplicable to the facts of said institutions.

Instead of following a template offering banal expressions of culturally acceptable terms, I believe we should declare ourselves as strongly, as forcefully, as we can.  That is, to attempt to say something meaningful

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Our mission is:

To provide shelter for all children.
To protect children from economic vicissitudes; there can be no poverty in our school.
To offer multiple models of learning.
To encourage play, above all else, in all activities.
To promote conceptual understanding through art.
To require questioning.
To support experimentation.
To permit learning over time.
To respect the individual as an end rather than a means.
To honor the neighbor.
To privilege community concerns.
To define science as discovery and observation.

I also feel we should stand as strongly opposed to certain things: simply think of the above in the negative.

For example implicit in the above yet likely necessary to be made explicit: we stand against comparative evaluations. Assessments are only to be made as a way to make appropriate pedagogical changes for individual students.

Assessments meant to “measure” success against an external and arbitrary (and arbitrarily useless) definition only promotes failure, is only intended to label failures.

We must protect our own against the aggression of the state as an economic despot, and the corporations who see our children only as a labor force: we must protect our children, and ourselves, from becoming only means to their ends.

A school is not for what is to come.  It is to enable the best possible world in the present.

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  1. Eric M. Sargent November 22, 2011 at 11:57 am

    This is simply awesome!

  2. Eric M. Sargent November 22, 2011 at 12:02 pm

    “No poverty in our schools” is quite poignant and worth plenty of reflection. That is a comment that can take you out at the knees.

    Also, maybe Mr. Keating (as trite as he may or may not be) had it correct! Recite poems while kicking a soccer ball = play!


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