Friday, November 19, 2010

Summit on Learning at the White House

Dear Mr. President,

I have read books and articles about the problems with our country's approach to education.  I have taken my children out of the school system because it wasn't meeting their needs, and subsequently I have seen them blossom into life learners at home.  I have been learning more about how children learn.  The more I learn the more I wonder if you, and the people in Washington who affect school policy and funding, are paying attention.  Is anyone reading the research and studies about how children learn?  Is anyone considering how we could better meet the needs of our children, instead of trying to force our children to fit into an antiquated system?

It is time to change the starting point.  It is time to re-frame the questions being asked about education.  Instead of having schools scrambling to figure out how to get their students to score higher on tests it is time to ask a new question, "How can we support the natural curiosity and passion for learning in each child?"

Our country needs to stop focusing on reforming education and focus instead on supporting learning.  And that starts at the top.  It is time you held a Summit on Learning at the White House.  You need to bring together the brightest, most radical, most progressive minds who understand how children learn and how schools need to be changed - not reformed - so as to support learning.  The studies have already been completed, the facts are irrefutable.  Our current school system is not working and that has nothing to do with our children lacking ability, motivation or creativity.  It has nothing to do with a lack of funding.  Our current system works against children, not for or with children.  Until we support learning, until we create an environment that focuses on the needs of children and how children learn, our school system cannot be successful in supporting our children as they grow up to take their places in a rapidly changing world.

To assist you in planning the guest list for your Summit On Learning at the White House, here are some of the people with knowledge and ideas about learning that will benefit our children and our country:

Sir Ken Robinson
You can watch two of his talks on TED:
http://www.ted.com/talks/ken_robinson_says_schools_kill_creativity.html

Or watch one of his talks with animation, Changing Educational Paradigms :
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zDZFcDGpL4U&feature=share

Alfie Kohn:
http://www.alfiekohn.org/index.php

Peter Gray:
http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/freedom-learn/200909/our-social-obligation-toward-children-s-education-opportunities-not-coerci

Pat Farenga:
http://www.patfarenga.com/

John Taylor Gatto:
http://www.johntaylorgatto.com/


Sincerely,
Jenna Robertson

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