Saturday, March 11, 2006

Why Bother?

My husband, Robert, returned from a trip last night, tired and frustrated from a day of doing business with a bunch of tired and frustrated people. Probably the last thing he wanted to do was checking out a blog....especially one about school. But he sat down patiently in front of the computer and started to read. After a few painful minutes, he blurted out, "For the love of God, why? Why now? We'll probably be gone in two years!"

Yikes. Very true.

Talking about things like school reform and standards and assessments is pretty heavy-duty. I can think of a zillion other topics that would be far more entertaining to discuss. And school changes can take a glacially long time -- especially if your time "in country" is limited by a work contract. The minute we first step foot in Jakarta, many expats already have the other foot headed out the door. So why bother starting down a road that will be fraught with uncomfortable debate, difficult choices, and no clear-cut answers? What's the upside?

The children are the upside. As John Dewey said, "What the best and wisest parent wants for his own child, that must the community want for all of its children." I, for one, want to know what the smartest parents here want for their children. I'm certain all of us in the JIS community do.

The time for this discussion will never be better. JIS has so many good things to work with -- and so few of the roadblocks that often stand in the way of creating truly student-centered, engaging, powerful schools. Just ask anyone who's been a teacher or administrator in the United States how painful it is to have a bureaucrat breathing down your neck with some "flavor of the minute" mandate or requirement that has nothing to do with educating children. Now that's frustration.

At JIS, the world is our oyster. And while my little Sofia and Erik may never directly benefit from the debate, the children of the tomorrow's JIS community will -- and that's a good enough reason for me.


At 2:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a great idea!!! I enjoy reading this blog!!!

At 8:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a really good blog! I enjoyed all your smart ideas!


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