The schools-as-ecosystems approach is great because it gives us a new way to see the places we work everyday: public schools. In exploring this approach, we’ve uncovered all sorts of interesting ideas: parallels between diversity and biodiversity, classrooms as niches, and the idea of a school as a web of relationships.
All of that stuff is interesting, but underneath the school-as-ecosystem paradigm is a critical assumption: that there is an intrinsic value to schools that parallels the intrinsic value we attach to the natural world. In other words, the destruction of public schools, from our point of view, is not an option. Everything we write rests on the assumption that we want to resuscitate struggling schools and create sustainable, healthy models for new ones.
Intrinsic value is a fairly abstract concept. This week, our posts will explore the value of public education and, hopefully, use the value we see in the natural world to make our points clear. We hope that all of you who are not vampires will join in the conversation.