Saturday, October 27, 2007

K12Online Educators Community Thank You or Claiming What We Imagine

Stephanie Pace Marshall, at the end of her book The Power to Transform, pleads with us not to wait for others. She says "Courage is the capacity to claim what we imagine. If you are carrying this new story in your heart, now is the time to step forward. There is a place in the world for your unique voice, and it carries a message that must be heard. Start anywhere, but begin the conversation, and tell the new story that brings learning and schooling to life.” p. 210

Over the last three weeks the K12Online Educators Community has shown me what courage in the service of children looks like in practice. I have learned so much about you and from you that I am encouraged thinking that you may be my best hope for hearing what I have to say.

Are you ready to take the next step to transform learning opportunities for every child on this planet?

K12Online Community

I will always remember the Will Power to Youth students from Los Angeles, California and the words of Ben Donenberg, who said, at the ASCD International Conference last March 2007 in Anaheim, California, “What [children] need is to feel that we adults in power value them highly enough that we are willing to invest our wisdom in their potential.”

I will always remember Stephanie Pace Marshall for her generosity of spirit and the poetic vision of the new story of learning she narrates in her book, The Power to Transform.

I propose we commit to work toward a statement of Vision for our work. I offer some words to begin the conversation.

K12Online Educators Community Vision

Educators from across the planet come together during K12Online as the planet's whole-child learning community, a learning community of educational professionals. Each day we strive to kept our promise to ourselves to be significant in the learning lives of each child on this planet. We strive to fulfill this promise by infusing a generative, integral, balanced, inspirational new story of learning into every school and classroom and beyond, every place where children learn. This new learning landscape for educating children is our planet’s best hope for guaranteeing a future where every child goes to bed each night with recollections of feeling healthy, safe, and supported during intellectually challenging and personally engaging days of learning.

The Power to Transform

In her book, The Power to Transform, Stephanie Pace Marshall asks the … leaders of this planet “… to declare a new path, awaken to the songline that imperceptibly weaves through humanity and the natural world, and use its clarity and deep resonance to tell a new story and [create a] transformative landscape of generative learning and schooling.” p. 210

In some way what I am going to ask you will initially be perceived as a Declaration of Independence from our past, but like all learning of significance, it actually is an affirmation of the positive intent of our past motivations; educators always mean to do well by students; however, the profession now knows that to be faithful to our trust with humanity, we must commit to the transformational behavior necessary for shaping the a new generative, integral, balanced, inspirational learning landscape for educating whole children. If we do not commit, the downward spiral for too many children and schools will accelerate. If we do commit, some day each child will go to bed each night with recollections of a healthy, safe, challenging, engaging and supportive day. Like the Declaration of Independence that gave birth to America, there is no other way. This is the courageous choice that has been our songline for years; now it is ready to be born. 1


Knowing that our planet, at this point in its evolution, requires bold and visionary leadership and significant systemic change if as a civilization we are to secure life, liberty – and happiness for current and future generations,

I propose

We commit to set in motion the mechanisms for writing and for eventually adopting a Children-as-Learners' Declaration of Independence from the past story of learning and schooling in favor of a new generative, integral, balanced, inspirational story of learning and schooling; and

We commit to set in motion the mechanisms for writing a Children-as-Learners' Constitution and a Children-as-Learners' Bill of Rights for a new generative, integral, balanced, inspirational story of learning and schooling; and

We commit to present for adoption draft Children-as-Learners' Declaration of Independence, Constitution and Bill of Rights at an Online Convention on a date certain on or before October 2010; and

We commit that once these statements are adopted, to set in motion the mechanisms for obtaining as signatories to the Declaration, Constitution and Bill of Rights, on or before October 2020, the myriad individuals, groups and associations; teachers and administrators; schools and school districts; and local, regional, national, and international government entities; and finally, that

All signatories commit to ensure that all professional statements of educational vision, mission, priorities, beliefs and goals, strategies, actions and measurement are aligned with the Children-as-Learners’ Declaration of Independence, Constitution and Bill of Rights.

1 Stephanie Pace Marshall, The Power to Transform

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