I can’t change the world, but…

I once told Sheryl Nussbaum Beach I didn’t feel moved to change the world.

We were chatting about all things education–and how some folks are comfortable presenting to large crowds (I’m not), and some feel compelled to change the world of schooling (I wasn’t).

At the time, I felt that my personal line in the sand, which I drew in the sandbox of a classroom, was enough. I could individualize instruction, buy netbooks for my kids, create an inviting atmosphere, offer a variety of ways to assess children, and focus on what worked.

I became comfortable in my own small, corner of the world.

And then last spring, I found myself taking over conversations in department meetings, dinner parties, and family gatherings. Whenever the chats turned to school (and specifically social media), I couldn’t keep my mouth shut. My frustration with how we “do” schools bubbled over. During our last week of vacation, my uncle turned to me mid-rant and said, “Ok then, how do we fix it? How do we make schools better?”

I didn’t have all the answers, but I found myself listing everything that matters to me: giving students voice; empowering teachers to work together and reflect upon their practice; offering choice in curriculum and ways to learn; allowing charter schools (with proper direction and guidance) to flourish; changing the way we sort and rank students.

Ok, so I care. Changing the system seems overwhelming at times, but it’s worth it.¬†Our kids deserve more from us.

These are the folks I’m following these days, watching and learning from them:

Coalition of Essential Schools

Big Picture Schools

Ideal Schools

IDEA

Not perfect, perhaps. But at least they are doing the work and not just talking about it. Who else should be highlighted?