Who will be the next Secretary of Education? Maybe we should start by asking candidates: what is education for?

As most anyone reading this blog will know, we are in the midst of a search for a new Secretary of Education in Vermont. Scanning through the news recently, I came across a conversation with Sir Ken Robinson on the future of education. One of the questions posed to him had such direct relevance to our situation here in Vermont, I can't help but share it with you. 

If you were the United States education secretary, what is the first thing you would do to change the American school system?

What is education for? In my view, it is to enable all students to understand the world around them and the talents within them so that they can become fulfilled individuals and active, compassionate citizens. The proper role of government is to create the best conditions for that to happen.

If I were secretary, I would encourage all schools to adopt a broad and balanced curriculum including languages, math, the arts, sciences, humanities and physical education, and develop nonstatutory guidelines and resources to support them. I would roll back the current testing requirements in favor of more informative approaches to assessment. I would support the comprehensive development of early-years education. I would institute a “soup to nuts” review of the selection, training and support of teachers. I would introduce incentives for creative partnerships between schools, families, cultural organizations and the private sector.

In these and other ways, education can and must change — for all our sakes.

ull Article: "An Expert’s View: Sir Ken Robinson," New York Times, April 5, 201

And here are a few timely Vermont perspectives:

Howard Smith: A vision for education in Vermont

VSA: Next education secretary must be ‘skilled navigator, collaborator and leader’

Whatever your opinion, get involved in the conversation however you can - now is the time to have our voices heard!