Here is a question I think is important to consider.
When students walk out of our schools, are our hopes that they all leave that experience good at the “same thing” or “something?”
For example, does the work done in schools focus on all our students being good at math, or help identify ways to bring out students’ abilities and strengths in a math class or through a mathematical lens?
I recently had a conversation about this topic. An educator provided me with a challenge saying that all students should be good at science, especially in this day and age. As we talked, we explored that idea more and found a common agreement that students should be good at the scientific process, but not necessarily that all students will become scientists. I think that is important to understand, and it made me consider what do all students need to be good at when they walk out of school.
That made me revisit this post I wrote in March of 2021 about “What are the basics in education today?“
Here is what I shared in that post:
There are so many opportunities that exist today that didn’t when I was a student. We need to take advantage.
What are the “basics” in education? How have they changed, and what has stayed the same?
Here is what I know. The “basics” constantly evolve in our world. Perhaps, a basic skill was the ability to write in hieroglyphics (thanks spell check for teaching me how to spell that word) at one point in our world, but it is no longer. Literacy evolves.
I think students need to have the ability to read and write to this day, but maybe I am wrong on this. Do students need to know how to make media? Create content? Connect with others via technology? I don’t know if these would be categorized as “basic” skills, but I think we should be talking about what that term means today.
Numeracy skills, I believe, are still essential but do students walk out of schools with basic financial literacy skills?
….I have ideas on these questions, but I think my answers are not as important as the discussions that we can have as a community on the answers to these questions in the past and can be in the future for our students.
In the same post, I also shared this:
As usual, it is not an “either/or” that we need to focus on but a mix of “same thing” and “something.” Again, this will look different in every context and community.
The most important thing we can do is start to have the conversation and find solutions to make sure every student finds that pathway to success meaningful to them, understanding that may look different from the opportunities we had as kids.