For more than 30 years, Schools for Children has been dedicated to creating and managing schools and other educational services in New England.
What we’ve learned in our programs—what we see every day— is that education is most effective, most inspiring, and most powerful when the student is the focus and when teaching, curricula, administration and related services coalesce around a student-centered experience.
But as we survey the wider educational landscape, we are gravely concerned that educational discourse is centered on something else.
Education is more often engaged in asking which tests are most accurate, what curriculum is more politically correct, whether teachers should have tenure. Instead of addressing the challenges of education with a goal of ensuring teachers can attend to individual needs, some efforts draw attention away from students and focus instead on statistical averages, test scores, labels and budgets.
At the same time, we are encouraged to see some schools and individual teachers trying to teach students as the unique individuals they are. People like Shawn Cornally, a high-school math and a science teacher in Iowa who is working on new ways to offer feedback that go beyond giving grades. Or Doug Stowe, a shop teacher in Arkansas who sees every day the value of “hands-on” learning. Or Shawn Brown, who through her innovative teaching of science, has brought a new frontier of ideas to students at Seaport Academy (Boston).
There are also many grassroots and national organizations, concerned parents volunteering in their schools and individual administrators and policymakers who see what we see.
Change is happening at the margins.
What We Are Looking to Achieve
Schools for Children is undertaking a new initiative, the National Institute for Student-Centered Education—NISCE.
NISCE is currently hosting a series of conversations with friends, educators, policy makers, teachers, supporters, experts, parents, students, researchers and others to explore how we can be effective. We are actively seeking advice as well as staff, advisers, partners and volunteers who share our concerns and wish to make a difference.
We aim to catalyze grassroots support for a vision of education where students—not politics, not tests, not expediency—are at the center of learning, and where all students have the opportunities and resources they need to succeed.
In April 2013, NISCE went public with national conference a on student-centered education for all those who think we can do better.
The conference brought together a diverse range of voices on this issue and inspired people who care about education to become involved. To learn more about our future events and conferences, please sign up to be on our mailing list.
We look forward to working with you!