Soon we will be entering a new era -- the 2020s.
Most people are familiar with the cinematic portrayal of the 1920s Prohibition era and the glitz and glam described by F. Scott Fitzgerald. The 1920s were a transformational time in America's history. The decade began with soldiers returning home from World War I to start families and a new way of life emerged.
America's schools were also experiencing transformation. Progressive education had taken root under the leadership of John Dewey, a philosopher, psychologist and educational reformer.
Progressive education of the 1920s focused on educating the whole child and providing experiential learning opportunities. Schools and teachers across the country were moving away from the memorization of facts and embracing a student-driven and student-centered concept of education.
This may sound familiar to you if you have been reading my blog or past columns about how education is shifting at Bexley City Schools.
Educators knew 100 years ago that experiential learning was the best way to educate children. Back then the school system was nimble enough to explore new methods of teaching and learning, conduct studies on the new methods and implement the ones that worked.
However, as the 20th century continued, state and federal oversight of schools grew and with that came content-based outcomes and accountability in many forms, mainly standardized testing. Slowly the student-driven, student-centered approach to education was overshadowed by the focus on testing and achievement. The global space race of the '50s and '60s, solidified the belief that America's youth had to compete and achieve more than their global peers.
Fast forward to 2019. Still, we feel the need for our students to compete on a global scale but the world is smaller now with the accessibility of the internet.
We still want our students to be successful now and into their futures, and the way we prepare them is both old and new again.
Educators have now come full circle and once again, schools are returning to the findings of Dewey that reinforces how our students need to be educated as whole persons and they learn more through experiences than they do from rote memorization of facts.
However, education in this new era will be different than the progressive era of the 1920s. We will still take standardized tests and state and federal policies are bound to mandate new activities in our schools.
Bexley's schools will continue to meet these accountability measures while, more importantly, educating our students holistically, addressing their social and emotional needs as well as their academic ones, and we will continue to provide experiences that take our students' learning beyond the walls of the classroom.
Bexley Schools may begin to look differently but our tradition of excellence will continue as we roar into a new decade.
Bexley City Schools Superintendent Kimberly Pietsch Miller submitted the Bexley Bold column.