Graham, this is great. You touch on many of the same themes I’ve been delving into, first in my PhD work at Stanford, then beyond at REENVISIONED. First and foremost, what is school even for? If we don’t have the right problem even the most innovative solutions won’t work. You don’t really get to the core of how you might define the purpose of school — do you have a way of defining the design problem as you see it?
Other questions I’ve been asking — What does it mean to flourish as an individual or thrive as a society? What’s the relationship between school and a good life? How do we re-consider the role of school in creating society when we define our design problem? And, perhaps most importantly, how do we start new conversations about this so that people everywhere have the chance to reflect on these questions. AND, so the many, many creative, competent, curious, and hardworking educators in schools can be allowed to solve these problems instead of the standardization and content knowledge acquisition and sorting problems?
Also, yessssss to the metaphors about dangers of monoculture. I use the same metaphors of ecological diversity and biological anomalies in my dissertation on systems change in ed (called “Why School? A Systems Perspective on Creating Schooling for Flourishing Individuals and a Thriving Democratic Society”). Have you read Scott’s Seeing Like a State?
I’d love to talk more.