The most famous line ever written by John Dewey was this:
“What the best and wisest parent wants for his own child, that must the community want for all its children. Any other ideal for our schools is narrow and unlovely; acted upon, it destroys our democracy.”
Our frequent commenter KrazyTA has been exploring what our leading reformers–who see themselves as our best and wisest educational visionaries–want for their own children. After Bill Gates spoke to the teachers at the annual conference of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards to explain why the Common Core was absolutely necessary and was the key to teachers’ creativity, KrazyTA inquired into the practices at the elite Lakeside School in Seattle, where Bill was a student and where his own children are enrolled.
This is what he found:
“Strangely, when I went to the Lakeside School website—you know, where Bill Gates and his children went/go to school—I found not a single mention of Common Core, standardization and electric plugs. Not to mention that they weren’t coupled with terms like “innovation” and “teaching.”
“Worse yet, not a single mention of how “college and career readiness” has been lacking there up until now either. Am I missing something? Anyway, let’s see what sort of institution crippled Mr. Bill Gates.
“Let’s start with “About Lakeside.”
First, their mission statement:
“The mission of Lakeside School is to develop in intellectually capable young people the creative minds, healthy bodies, and ethical spirits needed to contribute wisdom, compassion, and leadership to a global society. We provide a rigorous and dynamic academic program through which effective educators lead students to take responsibility for learning.
“We are committed to sustaining a school in which individuals representing diverse cultures and experiences instruct one another in the meaning and value of community and in the joy and importance of lifelong learning.
Second, “Mission Focus”:
“Lakeside School fosters the development of citizens capable of and committed to interacting compassionately, ethically, and successfully with diverse peoples and cultures to create a more humane, sustainable global society. This focus transforms our learning and our work together.
“Academics Overview” with the subtitle “A Commitment to Excellence”:
“Lakeside’s 5th- to 12th-grade student-centered academic program focuses on the relationships between talented students and capable and caring teachers. We develop and nurture students’ passions and abilities and ensure every student feels known.
“The cultural and economic diversity of our community, the teaching styles, and the approaches to learning are all essential to Lakeside academics. We believe that in today’s global world, our students need to know more than one culture, one history, and one language.
“Each student’s curiosities and capabilities lead them to unique academic challenges that are sustained through a culture of support and encouragement. All students will find opportunities to discover and develop a passion; to hone the skills of writing, thinking, and speaking; and to interact with the world both on and off campus. Lakeside trusts that each student has effective ideas about how to maximize his or her own education, and that they will positively contribute to our vibrant learning community.
“Let’s switch gears—or at least websites. Even more strangely, I found that stuff like class size matters:
“Finally, I had great relationships with my teachers here at Lakeside. Classes were small. You got to know the teachers. They got to know you. And the relationships that come from that really make a difference…
“More of this nonsense [?] can be found in the link below, like the fact that Lakeside School has a student/teacher ration of 9:1 and average class size of 16.
“Well, I could on and on but I fear we need to rescue the little tykes in the Gates family from such horrors as, well, feast your eyes on this bit of barbarity regarding the Study Year Abroad:
“Since 1964, School Year Abroad has sent high school juniors and seniors to study abroad in distinctive cities and towns throughout Europe and Asia where their safety and security is a priority. Widely considered the ‘gold standard’ of high school study abroad programs, SYA’s rigorous academic curriculum, paired with complementary educational travel and varied extracurricular activities, ensure students are in an optimal position to return to their home schools or proceed to college.
“Nuff said. Will you be joining Eva M and the pro-charterite/privatizer commenters on this blog for the upcoming “Save the Children of the Poor Millionaires & Billionaires Rally: A New Civil Rights Movement For The Truly Downtrodden” — catered, don’t you worry, by Wolfgang Puck.
I hope the above will put you at ease.”