Sunday, July 21, 2013

The Next Greatest Generation

This week's guest blog is from Dr. Ryan Longnecker, a Metro-Nashville Public School Dean of Students at an urban middle school. His musings here are a charge for us all to reflect upon the current state of public education and see where it is we (each and every one of us) can contribute.

Tom Brokaw originally coined the term "The Greatest Generation" to describe the generation "who grew up in the United States during the deprivation of the Great Depression, and then went on to fight in World War II, as well as those whose productivity within the war's home front made a decisive material contribution to the war effort." This great group of people, who despite their desperate beginnings, came together as a nation to defeat great evils and desperate odds. This is one of the main reasons our country can enjoy the freedoms and successes that it does today.

Now our country faces another great evil and desperate odds....but on a completely different front, and instead of struggling against outside forces that would threaten the freedoms of our nation, we now fight an internal war that is slowly chipping away at the very foundations that make our people and land great.

The current state of education has become a battleground as teachers, students, parents, governments, LEA's, and private businesses all maintain that they know what is best for learning and blame the other parties for the lack of achievement in our schools. Every day brings a new wave of methods, technologies, and learning methods that are promised to raise achievement, growth, and the success of students. And yet, the solution does not lie in trinkets and methods, it sits on our kitchen tables.

To "fix" our education system and put it back on the path towards success will take the efforts of the NEXT "Greatest Generation." It will take an entire generation letting go of the current mindset of "what can I get for myself" and "what can I do to enjoy myself tonight" and getting back to a sense of sacrifice for the greater good. It will take turning off the TV and getting back to the kitchen table. Putting down the iPad and teaching your child how to multiply fractions. Take a moment and read and ask yourself if YOU are making the sacrifices you need to make so that your children will be successful.

What are your thoughts? What did you think about the statistics in the article? Are we living in desperate times? Could this next generation be the NEXT Greatest Generation?

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