THE  WAY  FORWARD: Reflections On Purposes And Pathways PRESENTATION TO LEADERSHIP SUMMIT  -  JUNE 08 Earl Oremus  -  Marb...
THE INVITATION <ul><li>Within the walls of our individual schools, the questions of PURPOSE and PATHWAY may not be particu...
THE RATIONALE <ul><li>If our discussions in this forum focus only on what we currently do in our own schools, this gatheri...
REFLECTIONS ON PURPOSE “W hy do our schools exist?” <ul><li>Our schools exist because of a very odd circumstance </li></ul...
REFLECTIONS ON PURPOSE “W hy do our schools exist?” <ul><li>1900 Literacy Council report:  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>40% of po...
REFLECTIONS ON PURPOSE “W hy do our schools exist?” <ul><li>On the hot forge </li></ul><ul><li>of  reading  instruction, <...
REFLECTIONS ON PURPOSE “W hy do our schools exist?” <ul><li>We exist because the pioneers of our field (Fernald, Orton, Gi...
REFLECTIONS ON PURPOSE <ul><li>“ Do we fulfill that purpose?” </li></ul>
REFLECTIONS ON PURPOSE “Do we fulfill that purpose?” <ul><li>For the relative few in our schools, the answer is a resoundi...
REFLECTIONS ON PURPOSE “Are we comfortable with our purpose?” <ul><li>Inside our schools?  Absolutely! </li></ul><ul><ul><...
REFLECTIONS ON PURPOSE “Are we comfortable with our purpose?” <ul><li>Should we be content to survive as schools in a larg...
REFLECTIONS ON PURPOSE “Are we comfortable with the scope of our purpose?” <ul><li>Don’t we know how to teach so that almo...
REFLECTIONS ON PURPOSE “Are we comfortable with the scope of our purpose?” <ul><li>We teach a critical subskill (print lit...
REFLECTIONS ON PURPOSE “Are we comfortable with the scope of our purpose?” <ul><li>Is teaching the use of an essential too...
REFLECTIONS ON PURPOSE “Are we comfortable with the scope of our purpose?” <ul><li>Is being the Jiffy Lube of reading inst...
REFLECTIONS ON PURPOSE “Could there be more to our purpose?” <ul><li>Some of our schools are applying their skill at devel...
REFLECTIONS ON PURPOSE “Could there be more to our purpose?” <ul><li>Should we become leaders in teaching the new literacy...
REFLECTIONS ON PURPOSE “Should VISUAL LITERACY  be part of our purpose?” <ul><li>Visual Media communication is far more su...
REFLECTIONS ON PURPOSE “Could there be more to our purpose?” <ul><li>Is it reasonable for schools like ours </li></ul><ul>...
REFLECTIONS ON PURPOSE “Could there be more to our purpose?” <ul><li>LINCOLN’s view of the purpose of education: </li></ul...
REFLECTIONS ON PURPOSE “Could there be more to our purpose?” <ul><li>In “Education vs Civilization” LIPPMAN wrote: </li></...
REFLECTIONS ON PURPOSE “Could there be more to our purpose?” <ul><li>AL GORE’s view in  Assault on Reason : </li></ul><ul>...
REFLECTIONS ON PURPOSE “Could there be more to our purpose?” <ul><li>The most promising response to the </li></ul><ul><li>...
REFLECTIONS ON PURPOSE “Could there be more to our purpose?” <ul><li>Traditional models of education </li></ul><ul><li>dev...
REFLECTIONS ON PURPOSE “Could there be more to our purpose?” <ul><li>Could we lead in developing </li></ul><ul><li>templat...
REFLECTIONS ON PATHWAYS <ul><li>To meet our students’ unique learning needs, our schools have learned how to work effectiv...
REFLECTIONS ON PATHWAYS <ul><li>WHAT </li></ul><ul><li>SHOULD BE </li></ul><ul><li>THE WAY FORWARD? </li></ul>
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The Way Forward: Reflections on Purpose and Pathways for LD Schools

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Philosophical questions on the future purpose and mission of schools for students who learn differently

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The Way Forward: Reflections on Purpose and Pathways for LD Schools

  1. 1. THE WAY FORWARD: Reflections On Purposes And Pathways PRESENTATION TO LEADERSHIP SUMMIT - JUNE 08 Earl Oremus - Marburn Academy
  2. 2. THE INVITATION <ul><li>Within the walls of our individual schools, the questions of PURPOSE and PATHWAY may not be particularly stimulating </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Our institutional answers are already agreed upon </li></ul></ul><ul><li>So I invite you to step outside those confines and consider these questions from a broader perspective </li></ul><ul><ul><li>the perspective of our Leadership Group schools </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>the perspective of all LD schools </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>the perspective of all schooling in general </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. THE RATIONALE <ul><li>If our discussions in this forum focus only on what we currently do in our own schools, this gathering is merely a costly “show and tell” </li></ul><ul><li>If the purpose of our gathering is to focus on “leadership,” our view should encompass the educational ecosystem we inhabit </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Not just our own burrow </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. REFLECTIONS ON PURPOSE “W hy do our schools exist?” <ul><li>Our schools exist because of a very odd circumstance </li></ul><ul><ul><li>In our culture, nearly every critical element depends on words on paper and the capacity of members of society to read them </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How peculiar then that the government agency (public schools) charged with teaching citizens to read should fail in nearly half the cases for over a century </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. REFLECTIONS ON PURPOSE “W hy do our schools exist?” <ul><li>1900 Literacy Council report: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>40% of population can’t read; 60% can </li></ul></ul><ul><li>2004 NAEP report: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>40% U.S. students read “below basic” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>50 million in U.S. schools – the 60/40 split </li></ul><ul><ul><li>30 million read well </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>20 million don’t </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>10m impaired readers; </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>10m non readers </li></ul></ul></ul>
  6. 6. REFLECTIONS ON PURPOSE “W hy do our schools exist?” <ul><li>On the hot forge </li></ul><ul><li>of reading instruction, </li></ul><ul><li>the great assembly line of schooling breaks and rejects nearly 40% </li></ul><ul><li>of the children </li></ul><ul><li>it is supposed to build into readers </li></ul>
  7. 7. REFLECTIONS ON PURPOSE “W hy do our schools exist?” <ul><li>We exist because the pioneers of our field (Fernald, Orton, Gillingham, Stillman, Childs, Rome, Garside, etc.) dedicated their professional lives to developing teaching methods that worked better </li></ul><ul><li>We exist because the founders of our pioneer schools (Gow, Schenk, Rawson, Saunders, Cole, Drake, King, Shelton, etc.) devoted their lives to creating institutions with the purpose of making those effective teaching methods available to the 40% who fail to read </li></ul>
  8. 8. REFLECTIONS ON PURPOSE <ul><li>“ Do we fulfill that purpose?” </li></ul>
  9. 9. REFLECTIONS ON PURPOSE “Do we fulfill that purpose?” <ul><li>For the relative few in our schools, the answer is a resounding “YES!” </li></ul><ul><li>For the REST OF THE 20 MILLION in the bottom 40%, not so much … </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Approx 350 LD schools x avg. enrollment of less than 500 = max of 175,000 students we serve </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>2 million students diagnosed LD; approx 8 million undiagnosed </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>We serve less than 2% of those in need </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. REFLECTIONS ON PURPOSE “Are we comfortable with our purpose?” <ul><li>Inside our schools? Absolutely! </li></ul><ul><ul><li>For our students, our work is profoundly beneficial </li></ul></ul><ul><li>But in our larger educational ecosystem? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Are we comfortable with our guaranteed market? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Do we favor a system where they can keep breaking them, so we can keep fixing them? </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. REFLECTIONS ON PURPOSE “Are we comfortable with our purpose?” <ul><li>Should we be content to survive as schools in a larger system we know to be morally and ethically indefensible? </li></ul><ul><li>Should our purpose include changing the system? </li></ul><ul><li>Should our purpose include early identification, early intervention, & failure prevention instead of remediation? </li></ul>
  12. 12. REFLECTIONS ON PURPOSE “Are we comfortable with the scope of our purpose?” <ul><li>Don’t we know how to teach so that almost no students are broken on the hot forge of reading instruction? </li></ul><ul><li>Is this a “leadership” issue? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Could it be a pathway? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A way forward? </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. REFLECTIONS ON PURPOSE “Are we comfortable with the scope of our purpose?” <ul><li>We teach a critical subskill (print literacy) to those whom others can’t teach. </li></ul><ul><li>It is necessary for students to have this subskill to become educated. </li></ul><ul><li>But it isn’t sufficient. Print literacy isn’t the purpose of education. It is a tool, a means to an education. </li></ul>
  14. 14. REFLECTIONS ON PURPOSE “Are we comfortable with the scope of our purpose?” <ul><li>Is teaching the use of an essential tool the full scope of our purpose? </li></ul>
  15. 15. REFLECTIONS ON PURPOSE “Are we comfortable with the scope of our purpose?” <ul><li>Is being the Jiffy Lube of reading instruction a sufficiently satisfying purpose? </li></ul><ul><li>Are we content as dyslexia emergency rooms, educational intensive care units, staffed with skilled specialists who repair the damage of reading trauma, and restore the patient to educational health? </li></ul>
  16. 16. REFLECTIONS ON PURPOSE “Could there be more to our purpose?” <ul><li>Some of our schools are applying their skill at developing successful pedagogy to: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ fixing” the self management deficits of ADHD, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>developing an Orton-Gillingham of math instruction, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>teaching social skills to Asperger isolates </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Do these activities become elements of our purpose? </li></ul><ul><li>Are we satisfied with a “repair shop” purpose? Could we, should we be more? Are we more? </li></ul>
  17. 17. REFLECTIONS ON PURPOSE “Could there be more to our purpose?” <ul><li>Should we become leaders in teaching the new literacy: </li></ul><ul><li>VISUAL MEDIA LITERACY </li></ul><ul><li>? </li></ul><ul><li>Digital audio-visual media forms </li></ul><ul><li>have already replaced print </li></ul><ul><li>as the primary channel for acquiring information </li></ul><ul><li>for over half the population. </li></ul>
  18. 18. REFLECTIONS ON PURPOSE “Should VISUAL LITERACY be part of our purpose?” <ul><li>Visual Media communication is far more susceptible to manipulation than print discourse </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Images activate the limbic system’s fear responses in a way which rational print discourse does not </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Limbic responses short circuit rational discourse, the very foundation of our democracy </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Visual Media communication tools appear to be the most powerful instrument of demagoguery ever devised </li></ul><ul><ul><li>think of the effect of the “swift boat” smear </li></ul></ul>
  19. 19. REFLECTIONS ON PURPOSE “Could there be more to our purpose?” <ul><li>Is it reasonable for schools like ours </li></ul><ul><li>to focus serious effort </li></ul><ul><li>on incorporating </li></ul><ul><li>the higher purposes of education </li></ul><ul><li>into our programs? </li></ul><ul><li>Is it defensible for us not to? </li></ul>
  20. 20. REFLECTIONS ON PURPOSE “Could there be more to our purpose?” <ul><li>LINCOLN’s view of the purpose of education: </li></ul><ul><li>“ To raise up mankind </li></ul><ul><li>and to preserve the blessing of democracy </li></ul><ul><li>and </li></ul><ul><li>constitutionally guaranteed freedoms </li></ul><ul><li>to our citizens and the human race.” </li></ul>
  21. 21. REFLECTIONS ON PURPOSE “Could there be more to our purpose?” <ul><li>In “Education vs Civilization” LIPPMAN wrote: </li></ul><ul><li>the purpose of education should be to teach man </li></ul><ul><li>to govern his appetites </li></ul><ul><li>education now is designed to hone man’s capacity </li></ul><ul><li>to satisfy his appetites without regard </li></ul><ul><li>to the effect on community or fellow man </li></ul><ul><li>Are we content with an education designed primarily to teach students how to be more effective commercial and political predators? </li></ul>
  22. 22. REFLECTIONS ON PURPOSE “Could there be more to our purpose?” <ul><li>AL GORE’s view in Assault on Reason : </li></ul><ul><li>resolution of national issues is no longer acccomplished through rational public discourse </li></ul><ul><li>now, digital media are used to manufacture majorities </li></ul><ul><li>using the limbic fear response to manipulate public perception </li></ul><ul><li>the only antidote is disciplined use of reasoned dialogue </li></ul><ul><li>so the purpose of education should shift </li></ul><ul><li>from the schools’ traditional concentration on remembering </li></ul><ul><li>to the skill of disciplined thinking </li></ul>
  23. 23. REFLECTIONS ON PURPOSE “Could there be more to our purpose?” <ul><li>The most promising response to the </li></ul><ul><li>global resource & social justice problems </li></ul><ul><li>which threaten our society </li></ul><ul><li>is to shift the purpose of our education </li></ul><ul><li>from the remembering curriculum </li></ul><ul><li>to the hard discipline of a </li></ul><ul><li>thinking curriculum. </li></ul>
  24. 24. REFLECTIONS ON PURPOSE “Could there be more to our purpose?” <ul><li>Traditional models of education </li></ul><ul><li>devalue, </li></ul><ul><li>discriminate against, </li></ul><ul><li>and damage </li></ul><ul><li>students with diverse neural organization. </li></ul><ul><li>Could we teach the world </li></ul><ul><li>how to capitalize </li></ul><ul><li>on those differences? </li></ul>
  25. 25. REFLECTIONS ON PURPOSE “Could there be more to our purpose?” <ul><li>Could we lead in developing </li></ul><ul><li>templates for teaching and learning </li></ul><ul><li>that: </li></ul><ul><li>value the neural diversity, </li></ul><ul><li>cultivate the strengths, </li></ul><ul><li>and maximize the learning </li></ul><ul><li>of all students ? </li></ul>
  26. 26. REFLECTIONS ON PATHWAYS <ul><li>To meet our students’ unique learning needs, our schools have learned how to work effectively off the beaten pathway. </li></ul><ul><li>As a result, we have unrivaled capacity within our organizations to blaze new trails. </li></ul><ul><li>Could we invest this capital in adding to our collective educational purpose? </li></ul><ul><li>Should we? </li></ul>
  27. 27. REFLECTIONS ON PATHWAYS <ul><li>WHAT </li></ul><ul><li>SHOULD BE </li></ul><ul><li>THE WAY FORWARD? </li></ul>

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