Sustaining the Vision

"The new education plan should endeavor to create viable and enabling programs amidst the challenges of private vs. public education, funding, instructional methods, research, and teacher education, citizenship education programs, and activities that have become crucial to sustaining the goals, objectives, and aspirations of the nation.[Education and Democracy in Nigeria: Vision 2020]

Yahoo images

As we venture into our last section of what we feel will become of public education by 2025, we must discuss sustainability. What exactly do we envision as sustainability for public education? First, let's clarify what sustainability is. Merriam-Webster provides the following definitions for the verb form (taken out of order):
  1. to give support or relief to
  2. to supply with sustenance: nourish
  3. keep up, prolong
  4. to support as true, legal, or just

So how does that correlate to education? We believe sustainability in education encompasses many factors that support numerous challenges that are constantly redefined by our rapidly changing environment, such as:

Since September 1, an article published in Forbes by Steven Denning entitled, "The Single Best Idea for Reforming K-12 Education" has been viewed by 32,840 people which proves that people are waking up and hearing the calling of education reform. Denning, an author and pioneer for Radical Management: Rethinking Leadership and Innovation, shares what he believes is the best single idea for reforming education - a change in goal. He writes, "The goal needs to shift from one of making a system that teaches children a curriculum more efficiently to one of making the system more effective by inspiring lifelong learning in students, so that they are able to have full and productive lives in a rapidly shifting economy."

While programs like Teach for America and Students First are rapidly answering the call in order to provide more inspired teachers to take on the task of educating all students, there must be a shift in teacher preparation. Education programs in colleges are not producing the most passionate and versatile teachers that they can. All teachers are not being inspired to go beyond the traditional methods of teaching into a world where engaged teaching and learning is created on both sides. Teaching is a life-ling learning process that must be taken seriously because educating the youth in this ever-evolving technological world is vital to our public education system. We can either jump on the wagon that is passing by or be left in its tracks. There will always be skeptics and some that just will not rise to the challenge, but we know that change is inevitable and the time is now for the teaching profession to be revamped into the esteemed profession that it is.

Professional learning is a critical component of teacher preparation programs since teachers must evolve in order to teach with the curriculum we support under Curriculum and Pedagogy. Barnett Berry, author of Teaching 2030 will highlight some ideas he believes that teacher programs must incorporate to produce highly successful teachers, also known as "teacherpreneurs."
Along with training, there must be continuous professional development programs that will enable the renewed teachers to stay abreast and inspired. Since our mission supports the "flattening of the classroom," technology is a vital component enabling this concept so we will highlight some of the technologies that will improve professional learning and teaching as we progress into the future. The Flat Classroom Project will be discussed to provide a successful example of how two teachers joined their classrooms together and have become inspiring to many educators and people outside of the education field. Their work speaks for itself so we are delighted to share their mission and goals as it supports our vision.

Following professional learning, we will delve into how higher education programs must adapt to survive. Money is always a critical issue in education but since some schools, companies, and foundations are creating various support programs, mainly online, the burdens of financial responsibilities are being cut. Along with individual funding, our vision must be sustained with the support of various partners who are local and global. The impact that they have and will continue to support, is vital in the ongoing reform of public education. As more and more businesses and partners jump on board, they will see the benefits and encourage more partnerships and collaborations around the globe.

The following graphic which shows eleven common essential features and practices for effective schools was taken from the Missouri Integrated Model. It was developed to serve two functions: (a) to provide a structure for problem solving educational needs, and (b) to help school staff respond more effectively to the educational needs of all students.

Yahoo Images

They also provide clarity via the following checklist which describes the three categories in which change will happen: (a) building and sustaining capacity, (b) maximizing resources, and (c) making informed decisions.

The video below was created by Green Foundation(GEF), a non-profit organization with a mission of creating a sustainable future through education.

Next: Professional Learning

Grantmakers for Education - Innovation in Education: Redesigning the Delivery System of Education in America (April 8-9, 2010) Retrieved on October 4, 2011 from