Friday, May 22, 2009

Seven Generations School in East Penn, PA

Future teachers keep your eyes peeled. There is a new charter school opening in the Lehigh Valley that, at least on the face of it, seems to be doing the things we are striving for. The Seven Generations School, named after the Iroquois proverb that says we should act with the interests of the next seven generations in mind, seeks to be a school that focuses its curriculum on ecological interests.

If we take the FAQ statements to heart, they seem to see that we have to have a more sustainable world and that schools are one of the linchpins. They have recognized that a school that integrates disciplines also develops individual people who are critical thinkers and good citizens. To show the extent of their own citizenship and its commitment to environmental awareness and concern, they've already developed an extensive list of contacts with local universities, businesses, and community organizations who are themselves committed to a more sustainable planet. What is most heartening is that they are pursuing a zero-waste policy and an edible schoolyard.

It looks like this is no place to learn about bubble tests. Other charter schools have tended to regress to the mean, meaning that their innovative curricula have wandered into the perceived safe zone of the average public school. Will this place be different? Let's hope so. Free from some of the traps of NCLB, it might do its students, teachers, and community a lot of good.

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