Guest Editorial Reprinted from GREEN MONEY JOURNAL winter08/09
In this issue we're making the case that, society-wide, things are getting better because of four positive education macro-trends:
- Inner Growth
- Civil Society, and
- The Learning Organization
In our view, we're not just at a crisis point; we're at a threshold of opportunity.
There's no one to blame, no good old days to go back to, nothing to fix or save. Why would we want to fix or save a Model T? The old educational paradigm was revolutionary in its time and today, not so much.
The 15 Inspired Educational Transformers in this special issue of GreenMoney Journal describe the first steps to a new, civilized educational paradigm-a shift away from systematically making children feel that there is something wrong with them towards a culture of developmentally intelligent learning.
We question the outdated industrial-age framing of education as a commodity-pretending that minds are empty vessels to be filled and measured, rather than fires to be ignited (see articles by Arthur Zajonc and Betty Staley).
The paradigm is shifting. New, flexible, self-organizing approaches to learning run less on rigidity and more on plasticity (like our "neuroplastic" brains say Linda Lantieri and Jane Healy). These new approaches can be recognized and evaluated without invoking "rigor" (as in "knuckle crunching," "tough," and "mortis") Deborah Meier and Ingrid O'Brien suggest. Plasticizing experiences like the arts (Gayle Davis), nature (Richard Louv) and working with animals (William Crain) train our minds to think clearly and flexibly, while seeing with wondering eyes and compassionate hearts.
We noticed that the four positive education macro-trends correspond to the four positive cultural macro-trends which account for the Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability (LOHAS) sector: being Green, socially responsible business, investment and philanthropy, meditation and contemplation (with neuro-scientifically proven benefits!), and conscientious individuals as a new sector, "the cultural sector" or "civil society." The conscientious educator takes the social change lead (see articles by Ron Miller and Ocean Robbins).
A civilized educational system moves public education and private education to the next level of cooperation. We can cultivate people who weave originality, community, and service into civilization's fabric from generation to generation, as Joan Almon so movingly describes. Like cradle-to-cradle manufacturing, generation-to-generation education doesn't end with graduation. The developmentally intelligent educator is a cultural healer who first, does no harm, (see article by Deborah Meier), wastes no lives, and returns bright, loving and enterprising "nutrients" into the social soil. Let us step up with confidence and be like Betty Staley, Sonja Williams and Elizabeth Goodenough!
We gratefully acknowledge over a decade of support for whole childhood from Susan Kendall Newman/Paul Newman-Newman's Own with gratitude.
Finally we thank you, Cliff and the GreenMoney Journal team for opening your pages and treasured readers to these views.
As the election is over and nation-building begins in America, please forward this issue to everyone you know and start a conversation!
Here at GreenMoney.com you will find an expanded online version of the special education issue including an exclusive article by Ocean Robbins, founder of Youth For Environmental Sanity (YES!).
- Joan Jaeckel and Eric Utne, Guest Editors
Joan Jaeckel is a thought-change activist for social transformation through intelligent human design. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org and website: http://www.whole.org
Eric Utne founded the Utne Reader and is an educational innovator and social entrepreneur. Website: http://www.earthcouncils.org
This issue is dedicated to the Ten Civil Societarians who are exemplary friends of Childhood and Youth:
- Geoffrey Canada, Harlem Children's Zone
- Van Jones, author of Green For All: Building a Green Collar Economy
- Dave Eggers, 826 Valencia
- Rachael Kessler, PassageWays Institute
- David Orr, Center for EcoLiteracy
- Deborah Solomon, Resources for Infant Educarers (RIE)
- Wayne Jennings, The International Association for Learning Alternatives
- Steve Bonchek, Harmony Education Center
- Craig Kielberger, O Ambassadors
- Sir Ken Robinson's TED talk, "Do Schools Kill Creativity?"