What Is “Education Is…”?

“Education Is…” was founded as a forum for discussing and sharing ideas about the true nature of education.  It is meant to be a hub of ideas open to the entire community of interested contributors–so if you have ideas, please leave a comment or contact us directly, and you can be featured on the (still very new) website.  At present, we are a growing community of bloggers, students, educators, and concerned citizens who have a deep and abiding interest in the future of education.

The stimulus for this new venture is twofold.  The conversations around education reform in the United States have turned poisonous in recent months, with commentators trying to draw up a divide between “reformers” who believe in the Obama plan for reform, and then “others,” mostly teachers’ unions, who are in favor of the status quo.  We reject that false dichotomy, and we hereby reclaim the mantle of “reformers” for everyone interested in improving American education, no matter your background or point of view.

The guiding principles of this space will be inclusiveness and collaboration.  We are looking for good ideas from followers of both Arne Duncan and Randi WeingartenGeoffrey Canada and Leonie Haimson, all of whom are invited to participate in this project.  This new space has been established for everyone, but it is our sincere hope that it becomes a place of dialog  and debate free of negativity and personal attacks.  Everyone who cares about education is interested in doing what’s best for children and for the country.  We start from square one, with no other assumptions but this.  Do you think charter schools are the only way to fix low-performing high-poverty schools?  You have to convince us why charters are truly in the best interests of children who go there and of the U.S.A.

The second inspiration behind launching this website is John Dewey.  One of the most revered educational philosophers of the 20th century, Dewey is a name that is often forgotten in contemporary education reform debates.  A compelling writer, he should be allowed to speak for himself.  He writes:

Education is not an affair of “telling” and being told, but an active and constructive process.

Education is the fundamental method of social progress and reform.

Education is a social process. Education is growth. Education is, not a preparation for life; education is life itself.

We shall start from there.  How do you define education?  Better yet, how do you define a good one?