Leader to Leader

A Generational Shift in the Value of Institutions

At the recent ASCD Leader to Leader (L2L) conference, attendees had a series of passionate unconference conversations. Several groups refined their thoughts into a series of presentations to share with other attendees in an "idea marketplace." During the idea marketplace, unconference groups presented for four rounds of 10-minute sessions, giving their peers the opportunity to learn from several groups in one session.

This post, written by Mike Rulon, a member of ASCD's Whole Child Faculty and facilitator for the Assessment for Learning ASCD Professional Interest Community, shares his group's experience. Join the conversation on Twitter by using the hashtag #ASCDL2L.

There has been a dramatic shift in young peoples' thinking about the value of institutions. For example, they are more comfortable with changing jobs; the research states that newcomers to the job market say they expect to change jobs about every three years. This is a drastic change in thinking from my generation. We believed that we would have one or two jobs in our lifetime and with the same company or school. We believed this idea represented stability and we found comfort in having our benefits and retirement secure.

At the L2L conference we discussed other shifts in thinking about the value of the institution of education. These points were made:

  • There is more choice now than ever for parents and students—charters, private, and virtual schools.
  • Parents are becoming more comfortable with homeschooling, in part because technology makes it easier to deliver content, and there is a movement afoot for families to group together to share the responsibility of home schooling children from several families at a time.
  • The U.S. Congress has passed bills that could become law that will make voucher systems in states easier to institute.
  • One of Florida's largest school districts is a virtual district with thousands of students never setting foot in a school building for their high school careers.

We left with these questions for educators to ponder:

  1. How can we recapture parents and students to value public schooling?
  2. Should we consider partnering with the groups that are pulling our students away from our schools?

We believe that ASCD can

  1. Collect or sponsor research into why students are leaving our schools and where are they going.
  2. Make the ASCD membership aware of this trend and the consequences of continuing "business as usual" will have on our schools.
  3. Ramp up the support for the ASCD Whole Child Initiative. We believe that is what today's parents and students want from education.


Comments (1)

Mike Rulon

July 31, 2013

I wanted to add that this discussion was so rich because of the 20+ educators who joined the group and voiced their ideas, opinions, and contributed facts. It was a pleasure to help capture the meaningful discussion and present it to the larger group.
I hope that I was able to summarize accurately the groups input, I hope that members of the group will add anything I missed, or did not emphasize enough.

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