How do we move forward?
What's the first step?
To do this, we are interviewing 10,000 people across the country to build empathy for, and share our nation's collective dreams and aspirations. We are training Catalysts across the country to start these conversations in their communities. This first step - catalyzing conversation about what really matters between people who care about one another - is perhaps the most important step. But it's only the first step.
The second step is to build empathy and shared understanding by gathering these stories, hopes, and dreams together and share them - through this website, on social media, and in talks. The third step is to look for themes and points of convergence across these conversations - what is the 80% on which we can all agree? What shared values, dreams, hopes, and aspirations do we have for our children, ourselves, and our schools? These shared dreams can become the basis for a new shared vision for education.
New conversations are a way to truly and thoughtfully engage multiple stakeholders and understand where we as a society might agree or disagree about issues related to schooling. You could think of these potential levels of questions:
1) Do we share a common understanding about what a good or successful life is?
2) Do we agree about the role of schooling within attaining that life?
3) If we don’t think schooling is playing its role well (for our child or for other children), why do we think it’s not / how do we diagnose the problem?
4) Do we think other people agree with us about the first three questions?
This last question is important because research in social psychology has shown that we are likely to behave in accordance with what we believe social norms are, even if our individual preferences differ. If we all actually agree on 80%, but believe others don’t agree with us, then we have lost the chance for building towards our vision together and instead are stuck in the realm of false isolation and disagreement.
Underlying our work are a number of core beliefs:
We believe in the power of human possibility.
We believe each individual has the potential to become a positive changemaker, in their own life and in the world.
We believe empowering education builds on strengths and sees a whole human being, not a battery of test scores.
We believe schools should empower and inspire human potential and contribute to a flourishing society.
We believe it will be educators who transform our schools.
We believe a focus on gaps and "achievement" in a narrow sense are harming our students and our educators.