Race to the Top — A New Cultural Paradigm or a Cultural Shift?
By: Dr. Leonard H. Golubchick
Adjunct Professor of Education, Metropolitan College of New York Adjunct Professor of Education, Long Island University, Rockland Graduate Center Adjunct Professor of Education, St John’s University How can we describe the successful workplace of the 21st century? Is it a place where great teams come together to solve exciting and thought provoking problems? Is it not a place where we can amply the three “C”’s- collaboration, cooperation and communication (both orally and in written form). The successful team does follow the three C’s and establish an atmosphere where the rule of three is engaged” I learn from you, you learn from me, we learn from each other and I teach you, you teach me and we teach each other. We can establish an environment in the workplace so a motivated team can thrive and where they can be innovative, feel empowered, feel valued, and demonstrate rigor through teamwork while at the same time having fun as a member of a team. Can we describe the culture of our classrooms in the same manner with the data driven test results demands of no child left behind and now the concept of aligning student achievement to teacher compensation. Students have called what they do in school as drudgery. The expectation under the accountability systems demanded by the Department of Education is that we develop a population of students who know how to fill in the dots or blanks without engaging the interest or intellect of children.
The transformation of education through so-called reforms have not promoted critical thinking and certainly has not motivated students to go beyond the filling in of dots or blanks. Reliance on standardized achievements tests “dumbs” down the educational process and does not promote thinkers, doers and risk-takers. The current atmosphere on the reliance of one test to measure success does not provide the knowledge, skills, and competencies needed to compete in the global economy.
We must promote learning and the love for learning through teamwork, collaboration, cooperation, and innovation. Children need the ability to communicate verbally and in writing. They must develop the emotional intelligence to compete in today’s world. Overall learning should be fun. I am a proponent of project based learning activities where children can be empowered; develop team work and critical thinking abilities while having fun. They can become thinkers, doers and risk-takers. In order to be successful we have to encourage intrinsic motivation rather than seek external motivational devices.