Disrupting the Sidewalks

Wheeling Country Day School

They fixed the sidewalks. It was a great deal of work to make curbs in our town more accessible. It caused a great deal of traffic and turmoil. The change and inconvenience caused many to question the timing, resist the project and curse the need.

Each intersection now has an accessible curb. Those in wheelchairs no longer face the same barriers, but parents pushing strollers, kids on skateboards and young people on bikes are all much happier and better served as well. Universal design is just plain good design.

It is a standard in architecture. It is not good unless it is universally designed. A building has to be designed so that ALL may enter.

Not so in education. When are we going to design our classroom experiences so ALL learners can love learning within our schools?

At #NAISAC we heard from speaker after speaker that we are “backing the wrong bets” in education. Sir Ken Robinson shocked us by telling us that the testing industry makes $16 billion year compared to the NFL’s $9 billion. Still we test. What if we put testing on the table as one of the practices we will disrupt? How would we spend that money? At WCDS I would trade every dollar I spend on testing to assist teachers in making every classroom accessible to ALL learners.

To step back at a conference like NAIS is a gift. As I head home today, I am going to think about “ripping out all the sidewalks” and re-designing them so that joyful learning is pervasive on our campus. It will be noisy, chaotic, and resisted… all the best changes are.