I went to elementary school in the 1970s.

From my perspective, I had a more innovative education that my seven-year-old, and than too many other kids today.

Yes, these kids have iPads. But if all they do is math drills, they’d be better stepping back in time to my childhood, when my teachers let us invent our own games.

Yes, today’s schools have the Internet. If they never connect with anyone outside their own walls, my former teachers could give them a lesson on the power of pen pals.

Twenty-first century teachers often have projection tools to showcase the presentations they make. In fifth grade, Mrs. Moeschler gave the task of presenting to kids, whether it was through shadow stories on the wall, poetry performance, making speeches… and she gave us choices. I struggled with something, and she assigned me a peer helper. I worked above grade level in reading, and she let me design my own classroom lending library in an expansive walk-in closet during a unit she felt would not meet my needs.

I see amazing innovation going on in education around the country. I am blown away by some of the examples. I joyfully follow the innovative work of dedicated educators through journals, Twitter, conferences, and face-to-face connections. These change agents fight an uphill battle. It’s hard to understand why, on the most essential level, without pointing at a million excuses — and I refuse to get political about it today. I just want to go on the record and say we need to fix it. Now.

I believe in innovation. Not just edtech or technology; I lobbied for years to take the word “technology” out of my last title. I believe in the power of innovation to help remedy the giant disaster that I see in too many schools. I want to be part of the change. I want to make today’s schools more innovative, more successful, for my kids and their generation than even the quality schools I attended in the 70s and 80s. Who is in?

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