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Incentive pay for teachers. Common Core.  Longer school hours.  Eliminating the traditional “classroom” space. Privatizing education. Year-round school.  Integrating technology.

The dialogue surrounding school reform often resembles a battlefield.  The supporters of each side of an issue hurl the results of studies, budget numbers, and test scores at each other over the heads of the students caught in the middle.

As I think about how policy makers and educators will be re-defining the culture of education and how it’s delivered to students, I am reminded of futurist and author Alvin Toffler’s observation that in the future, “illiteracy will not be defined by those who cannot read and write, but by those who cannot learn and relearn.”

So why are we not asking students the important questions about what is, after all, THEIR education?
“How do you know when you are learning?”
“What happens when you are excited about learning?”
“What can you accomplish when you feel engaged?”
“How would you design a school day?”
“What should classrooms look like?”
“How do your teachers help you learn best?”

If you ask a child or teenager these questions, you’ll get answers that have more practical purpose than the battles currently being fought.

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