Hi Judy — thanks so much for this response. I agree that the title could be construed as slightly misleading if you construe learning in a broader way (though I was going for provocative more than misleading).
The points I was hoping to convey were, first, very similar to your point, “learning” is often mis-defined as purely the acquisition of content knowledge…which is a dangerously narrow definition if this is what we then measure the success of our children and schools on.
But second, beyond this, and the reason for the title, is that this individual focus on human development or possibility — even if it’s of the whole child — still misses the full role that school plays in developing the collective — our society.
School is our primary socializing institution, and our only common and public one. Through it, we learn how to get along with others, collaborate, norms of social interaction, who belongs and who doesn’t belong, who is deserving of respect, who shares our history, and on and on. When we don’t consider very carefully the questions of the kind of society we create (e.g. “What makes a just society?” “What does equity mean?” “What is fair?” “What does it mean to practice democracy?” “Why practice democracy?”), and then use these answers in the design of our schools, then we have missed half or more of the purpose of school in our design.