What is the purpose of a grade? What is the purpose of semesters, class periods, or even timed tests? What is the purpose of our current system of education? It is my opinion we need to think about these questions so please stop reading for a few minutes and take the time before you read any further.
If you have taken the time to think about each of these questions, you may have come to the same conclusion I have — that each of them has been set in place to rank and order our students. They have not been put in place to support learning for ALL students, only to discover who can learn the fastest, or who can learn the best under the rules and parameters we place on them. How fair is that? Who gets to decide how you learn and how long it should take for you to learn? And to make things worse, in most places it is completely up to the individual teacher what this looks like in their classroom, where each teacher has a different style, and it is up to the students to conform to each style as they enter the classroom.
I want a system to support the learning of every student. One in which all students are given the support, time, and personalization to succeed. One in which students have the freedom and ownership to seek and find what interests them and then use those interests to support their learning of the Common Core Standards. Why did you become an educator? Can we call ourselves educators if we are not truly educating ALL of our students, and instead leaving many behind to fail only because our system does not allow us to give them the time and support the student may need?
Stop worrying about what we have always done, and begin thinking about what we need to stop doing. Begin doing it differently. A true system of learning is one that promotes learning for all. Not some. Not most. All. We know we do not have that system currently. What do you want your education system to support, and what does this system look like?