A new network to create distributed, replicable, and equitable community learning partnerships.
Tell us about your idea
What was true before the pandemic has become so much clearer since. Educational opportunity is doled out by zip code. The greater the need, the fewer the resources. True creativity, connectivity, and collaborative growth become virtually impossible, as our best educators are forced to push and fight against an organized system - public, quasi-public, and private/corporate - better suited to perpetuating a set of institutional failures that dismantling them.
The good news, though, is that our communities have the ideas, the people and technology to avoid a return to normal. As the innovations generated by this challenge show, we're more ready to collectively rethink some of the fundamental assumptions about learning than we've ever been. Our name is an acknowledgement that these ideas are really not all that new, evolving from at least 40 years of organized thinking and practice. Our theory of action is that only if we start with an entirely different set of assumptions are we likely to produce the revolutionary change our current crisis calls for. Among those different assumptions, all of which can be answered with varying models and iterations:
What if small groups of skilled and committed folks from all walks of life, unburdened by orthodoxy or ideology, could easily collaborate to support kids and families, instead of delegating all of that work to compliance and batch-sorting oriented schools?
What if the work itself mattered, rather than test scores, transcripts, or connections?
What if getting along mattered more than getting ahead?
What if learning were not constrained by the walls of a school building or a disintegrated discipline, but liberated by design to be integrated and to occur anywhere, anytime?
What if our expectations for children were built not on an antiquated past or idealized future, but on what we know about the impacts of adverse childhood experiences, racism, and poverty?
The long term goal of r-evolutionlearning.org is to make it easy for individuals and small groups to create local/regional/global crowd-sourced solutions through a network of worker-owned, geographically distributed co-operatives. We're working to develop a system of learning tools (with partners like Headrush Learning); communities of practice, and technical supports that will allow small groups of innovators to be genuinely responsive to their students and their communities. The POPUP school is one example of how we think that could play out, but we think there are many ways to empower educators, parents, and communities determined to provide high-quality education regardless of economic privilege through distributed, replicable, and equitable community partnerships.
Our submission to the Reimagine Learning Challenge has pushed us to launch a little earlier than we'd expected - if you think your ideas and ours have some overlap, please get in touch!
Tell us a little bit about yourself and what inspired you to share this idea.
I've had 30-year career as a public school teacher, leader, school founder, coach and reform facilitator with organizations like the National School Reform Faculty and EL Education. Areas of practice included community engagement, school culture, and designing and starting new schools, including Poland Regional High School in Poland, Me as a teacher; Casco Bay High School in Portland, ME as a School Designer for EL Education, and as founding Head of School at Harpswell Coastal Academy, a project-based, place-based public charter school.
I was inspired to share (r)evolution learning in this forum by: my daughter and collaborator, Sophie; colleagues who've worked with openIDEO and suggest I submit this project; and by so many of the other ideas that have been shared here. It's clear students, parents, educators, activists, and community members are thinking along the same lines: distributed, open-source platforms; simple, community-based collaborations that do not rely on schools; citizen-science or other problem-based learning projects that engage students in their own future, rather than as passive recipients of what we hand them.