Perhaps… but therein lies the dilemma that faced not only me at the time, but students today. What defines a successful education? Is it a high ACT score? Is it going to college and getting that “perfect” job? Is it ranking in the top 10% of your class? What exactly is educational success?
If you define education success by being in the top 10% in your class, you are automatically saying that being at 11% isn’t good enough. Remember, not everyone can be in the top 10% (I learned that in math class). Perhaps academic success should be looked at differently. Perhaps the cookie-cutter approach isn’t a good working model anymore. All students are different. Students with disabilities have an Individualized Education Plan (IEP). This plan is individualized for the student to assist him, or her, with their educational success. But, it is individualized, custom-built, so to speak, for them. What if each student had a customized plan just for him or her? Educational success could, then, be defined based on the individual. It may be a bit of a far-fetched idea, but this approach has worked in the area of students with disabilities. And, schools are using Response to Intervention (RTI) now. This is an approach on learning that would have been unheard of when I was a kid. Each child is an individual and learns differently. RTI aims to give children a variety of ways to learn things. Some kids learn better through manipulating items, maybe in a lab setting. Others can merely read about the lab experiment and learn it, while others learn better hearing about the lab.
Then we have to ask, are we teaching in order for our kids to get good scores on standardized tests, where the good score is the ultimate goal and learning is the byproduct? Or, rather, is the ultimate goal learning and the good score is the byproduct? I don’t have an answer on this one, but I know during my son’s junior year of high school, it seems like the whole year has been devoted to ACT preparation.
Maybe, just maybe, there is a new and different approach in defining a successful education, one that focuses on the student as an individual, rather than as a number.