Beyond a Diploma

    I have no idea where I am going with this post, but I wanted to work through these ideas through writing. Bear with me.
    Here is a question that popped into my head recently;
    Would our students and communities see school (K-12) as valuable and as an essential endeavor if there was no diploma offered?
    If you google the benefits of having a high school diploma, the top results will state things like you will get “better job opportunities,” you can “earn more money,” or it will “pave the way to college or trade school.” All of these things are important, but is the process of school seen as a means to an end (diploma), or is school about something more?  Most educators will say that it is something much much more (as would I), but what do our students and communities believe?  I am not saying they do not see it as something more, but I am honestly wondering.
    I recently posted this picture on Instagram:

    If this was how communities saw K-12 education, would the be more of an emphasis placed on the process of school than merely the product?
    There are many barriers to making the above statement happen in education that is outside of the control of teachers and administrators. The whole premise of “Innovate Inside the Box” is the idea that we can make that statement come to life despite the constraints that so many educators face.
    I am not saying we should get rid of diplomas. There are still seen as an important measure in our world today.  I am just thinking a lot about the “purpose of school” and how educators see it versus our communities. And if educators see the purpose as something uniquely different than our students and communities see education, how do we connect these ideas?
    In my opinion, the process, which happens over a 13 year period for most students, should be more important than the product.
    After writing this, I feel like I have more questions than answers but it is just something I wanted to try and process through writing.

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