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Humanizing the Education Machine by Brian Cahill, Bill Latham, Rex Miller

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Chapter 1Numbers Don't Lie

You never change things by fighting the existing reality.

To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.

—R. Buckminster Fuller

Did you know that 70 percent of teachers have mentally checked out of teaching? How is that possible? These are not bad people. They all started out inspired, hopeful, courageous, and even playful. Some of our best novels and films—such as Dangerous Minds, Stand and Deliver, Lean on Me, Up the Down Staircase, and Goodbye, Mr. Chips—have featured these noble, exciting, and often daring figures.

But after a while, the Education Machine just rolled over too many teachers, mashing the life juices right out of their pores.

I'll tell you something else—by the time they graduate 60 percent of students will have also flown the coop. This is not some abstract number: these are the kids on your block, next door, and maybe in your upstairs bedrooms.

We all know that we live in perilous times. But, more than that, we live in the crumbling ruins of obsolete forms. An age is passing away (as ages always do). Don Berwick famously said, “Every system is perfectly designed to get the results it gets.” The prevalent model of public education does what it was designed to do. And in a previous era, that served America very well. With the passing ...

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