Subscribe to the Blog


Actually, we don't want everyone to learn the same thing...

One of the lies we tell in Education is that a Diploma means something.

Well, it does mean something, but it doesn't mean the same thing to everyone.

A high school diploma in the United States currently says one thing: A student sat in a chair for a certain number of hours for a certain number of days attending a certain set of courses, probably.

Different districts have different requirements of what is required for a high school diploma, which falls into each of the categories above:

  1. How many hours did a student
  2. attend a select
  3. choice of courses

Some districts require students to take very specific courses, and others require different courses. Some states have statutes that require certain skills to be taught, where others don't require those things.

Some states have enacted legislation that requires students to have courses that include instruction on dating violence or sexual assault or suicide prevention. Some states require certain levels of math (algebra I being the typically minimum).

What we need to get to is the idea that not everyone has to learn the same thing--You see, we think this is what we mean when say that a high school diploma means something. We think a high school diploma means that anyone with that diploma has learned certain things.

What we have learned from employers and colleges is that kids are coming to them underprepared straight out of high school.

Everybody likes to blame the people below them, but the real problem is that our expectation is that everyone is at the same level.

They're not. And they never will be.

Because people are individuals.

Two kids can sit through the same class and get dramatically different things from that class.

We need a system where we can actually say what kids are capable of, independently and with support.

This requires LOTS of very difficult changes, because we have been brought up ourselves in this system and change is hard. It's not impossible.

I want you to join me in that work.

The School Change Process

In my recent podcast listener survey, I had nearly all respondents ask how to make school change happen. They wanted to know the details around making our schools change.

So, I created a podcast where I listed what we are doing at my school. This is now the third school where I have implemented big change and it is also the third way we have made that change happen.

In the first school it was all about data and students meeting targets.

In the second school it was much more about meeting standards.

In the third school, it is about personalizing learning.

What hasn't changed much is the four step process to make change happen.

  1. Vision
  2. Communication & Culture
  3. Empowerment of faculty, parents, and students
  4. Continuous improvement

When these four are in place, life is good. The change happens.

Take a listen to the podcast here.