When my wife was pregnant with our oldest son Jackson we talked in very theoretical terms about how we’d address his education. Every day since he was born that discussion has slowly moved from theoretical to practical. We transitioned from thinking about public vs. private to where we are today, which is the modern education paradigm, which includes both public and most private schools, vs. us as parents acting as the primary educators of our kids. The term most would be familiar with is homeschooling, though I can’t say I’m comfortable with that term as it implies that we just do school at home. I guess every term — homeschooling, road-schooling, world-schooling, or un-schooling — eventually doesn’t hold up under close examination.
Recently, though, I’ve moved beyond thinking just about our family’s approach to education and onto the broader public policy questions regarding education. Many of these thoughts have been spurred by Seth Godin’s new manifesto on education, Stop Stealing Dreams: What is school for? [You can download a copy of the book here for free]. During March Madness, I even asked whether the volatile basketball coach Bob Knight was a better educator than a sweet 3rd grade teacher.
I wasn’t the only one reading Godin’s manifesto and drawn to passionate discourse on education, and Nancy Vogel, a former teacher herself, organized a full week of posts on the topic of education reform on her blog Family on Bikes.
I’m excited to have had the opportunity to participate in this series. In thinking about education reform I was drawn to reflect on how much my high school history teacher Mr. Babbitt has meant to my life.
In addition to being my history teacher, Mr. Babbitt was my Academic Decathlon coach. Thinking about my old high school days prompted me to track down the article I’ve posted below from the Indianapolis Star after our team won the state championship and prepared for nationals. Yes, the Indianapolis Star referred to me as a 6-foot-4 stalwart. But that’s not nearly as much as a crack-up to me as when I think about the cheesy speech I gave that the Star refers to. And I was so skinny!