Can There Really Be A Revolution In Education?

revolution
Student Protest

There has been a lot of talk at ISTE12 this year about education needing a “Revolution not an Evolution”.

Revolution

1. an overthrow or repudiation and the thorough replacement of an established government or political system by the people governed.
 
2. Sociology: a radical and pervasive change in society and the social structure, especially one made suddenly and often accompanied by violence. Compare social evolution.
 
 
Social Evolution: the gradual development of society and social forms, institutions, etc., usually through a series of peaceful stages. Compare revolution ( def. 2 ) .

What is this education revolution going to be? Who are we going to overthrow? And the biggest issue of all…..revolutions means you are willing to die or at least get fired for your cause and honestly I don’t know to many teachers who believe strongly enough about what this education revolution should change into to quit their jobs. 

So what we end up with is a social evolution and I think that’s what we’re seeing. This is why change is gradual in education. Those of us in power; administrators, teachers, etc like our jobs…like having a job and therefore we can’t cause a revolution. We can cause an evolution and that’s what we’re seeing.

So if teachers don’t have the power to bring a revolution to education who does?

Parents? Yes….parents could decide not to send their children to school. Will that happen? I don’t think so.

Which leaves us where?

Students….this is who will bring the revolution and this is who we need to be talking to if we truly believe there needs to be a revolution in education. Of course the revolution isn’t coming so what we’re getting is an evolution of education.

In my TEDx presentation I talk about students being the change agents….and if we are going to see a revolution it will come from them. Little did I know just 6 months after giving that TED Talk what I explained would play out in Egypt. Students and people taking to social networks and creating a revolution. 

It is scary to think the power that even just high school and middle school students have via these social networks. Here’s the issue….students survive school and are worried about real world problems. Most recently students used Facebook to walk out of classes on May 1st over immigration laws

So we can call for a revolution all we want, but unless we’re willing to take to the streets and risk our own jobs it just won’t happen. So we end up evolving, pushing, and making change one slow step at a time. It’s frustrating work…..but it’s the work we have to do…we have to keep evolving, keep pushing. It will take time but we’ll get there.