Make Way For Awe – Opinion

My comment to: “Make Way For Awe” on NBC’s Education Nation:

Your description, I’m guessing, takes place in a school that is not “at risk” and/or “inner city.” I teach in a very “at risk” elementary school where students in 6th grade don’t know the difference between a lake and the ocean – WHY? because their curriculum has been narrowed to only math and literacy. The scene described above would fill them with wonder and start to open their eyes to what is really out there beyond the confines of their neighborhood and a curriculum devoid of those things that spark imagination. Many of us try to explain why that narowed approach does not achieve the desired outcome for many because part of reading is having the schema, the reference to understand what is, and what is happening.

Enter the “reformers” most of whom have very little to no experience in education, but do have either fame, fortune or are in politics. I hope unwittingly, but I’m afraid not, they spread their uninformed opinions, like they have the holy grail of education in their hands just because they are successful. Anyone that tries to express an alternate view is quickly labelled a whiner or a member of the status quo society. The real truth is that these reformers are the status quo. They push a reform vision that is really a return to education 100 years ago. “Sit up straight! Listen! Show you are paying attention! Ask questions when appropriate!” But don’t learn how to learn … only learn to be taught … to be reliant on the purveyor of knowledge behind the curtain … I mean in the front of the room. Don’t use 21st century tools, the old tools were good enough for us, they are good enough for you. Teachers and students are not the experts – listen to us and relegate them to a pat on the head and a little encouragement.

Yes this trip to the stars would be great for my students. I might even take them there. But don’t tell Bill Gates or Brian Williams or the others that get to form our opinion of schools by having the most voice, they might not let me. Their kids wouldn’t be subjected to this pathetic, anti-septic curriculum … but they get to feel good that they are helping “those kids” by subjecting them to it.

Let’s allow ALL our children to look to the stars this way! They will all thank you later.

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6 thoughts on “Make Way For Awe – Opinion

  1. Amen. Thank you for your inspiring teaching! I just watched your Ted talk and was very impressed. Good work. Now we just have to figure out how to get you to Washington…

  2. Quite the opposite. Classrooms throughout NYC along with urban centers around the country and globe have emplyed this methodology. Certain schools have almost totally at-risk students. That said, I am thrilled that these educational ideas also work within non at-risk schools.

  3. Mr. Crosby,
    This post is really an inspiring one. Children need to be outside of the box. I don’t believe they can learn properly if they are not opened up to the outside world. I couldn’t agree with you more when you said that most of these so called reformers “have very little to no experience in education.” I think these people are more concerned about themselves and aren’t taking our children’s real needs into consideration. I think we need more people like you speaking out.

  4. Reading your post has been very enlightening. I most certainly believe that there are flaws in the educational system. As a student at the University of South Alabama studying Education, it is my hope that that my future students will all have an equal opportunity. I am going to make it my goal that my students are completely well-rounded with or without regards to main curriculum of the school or school system that I will ultimately teach in. Children are the future and to be prepared for this future they must “start out on the right foot.”

  5. Mr. Crosby my name is Stephanie Belletty I am a student at South Alabama in Edm 310 . I loved the idea about taking a trip to the stars. If we would have had the technology we do now when I was in elementary school, I believe I would be a lot smarter. Showing the children places outside of their neighborhood is essential the child’s growth as an individual and lets the children learn about other cultures as well. You can find comments on my blog about your post at

  6. Brian,
    I am one of millions sharing your outrage at what is being spoon fed – or crammed – down the throats of unwitting and uninformed Americans by the likes of Williams and/or Gates. My school and I have been used for personal gain by the Gates machine to make inroads into the educational world, so I’m more than a little skeptical. Thanks for your post. – Mark