For the opening panel discussion at EduCon 2.1, the question on the table was “What is the Purpose of School?” and variations on that question were in the air all weekend.
Sorry, despite all the very smart people in the building, I never heard anyone come up with the definitive answer.
However, Seth Godin, who is supposed to be a marketing guru (he is fun to read), also offers his take on the same question: What is school for?, a “starter list” of 27 items.
Some are straight out of the vague mission statements written by many schools (“Become an informed citizen”), some are brutally honest (“Give kids something to do while parents work”).
Godin’s list is meant to be provocative, of course, but he’s certainly right about one thing.
This is a discussion we as a society need to have.
Certainly it needs to happen before we spend any more time and money on shuffling-the-deck-chairs-type school reform.