This learning doesn’t need to, shouldn’t, and can’t necessarily happen all at once, either. It should be a constructivist journey that extends across the educational experience of all learners. There are some essential learnings that all students should know.
Here are essential lessons for every student to learn in schools about schools:
- There is a current system for educating young people, and they are part of it;
- Grade levels and student grouping, e.g. elementary, middle, and senior high schools;
- Grading, testing, graduation, and dropping out;
- The ways curricular topics work together to form a liberal arts education;
- The relationship between classes, schools, districts, state education agencies, and federal education departments;
- Individuals in the education system, from individual students to teachers, principals, superintendents, governors, state education leaders, legislators, and federal leaders;
- Connections between graduation and life after high school, e.g. college, work, and income levels;
- The relationship between public schools, basic education, and the democratic society we live in.
In learning about the education system, students will build their knowledge, comfort, and ability to operate within that system. More importantly, they will become informed participants, which can allow them to become informed partners.
This is one of the first steps in engaging students as partners throughout the education system, which I call Meaningful Student Involvement. Learn more at soundout.org.