The American Declaration of Independence laid out the vision that governments have a responsibility to protect people’s unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The concept that the relationship between a government and its people would be that of accountable representatives and citizens versus hereditary positions and subjects was rare at the time. Most marveled at such a bold idea. Others saw it as unattainable. Still others believed that it was not what governments were designed to do. Yet today, this vision is largely taken for granted and accepted as the ideal to attain. The creation of a democratic republic enabled the Founding Fathers to create a system of government that would make their vision a reality.
We face a similar but smaller scale challenge in response to the vision we share that we must get learning right for students the first time – every time. Some are uncomfortable admitting that we are not reaching this vision now. Others do not believe it is possible to achieve. Still others understand that we must find a way to make this vision a reality, like the Founding Fathers did when creating a new government 235 years ago. Reaching such a standard will require rethinking how we nurture learning and support student success. Creating an educational system that is based on personalized learning in a customized environment for each learner resulting in a dramatic increase in the level and scope of success experienced by learners will enable us to make our dream a reality.
We hold a bold vision. It presents a special challenge. Realizing its promise will require imagination, commitment and work. Yet, society is depending on us and the learners of today and tomorrow to make it real. The question is much less about what is possible and much more about what we are willing to do to make it so.