We build alternate models that educators can look to. We create a demand for alternate curriculum (like Singapore Math) that school parents can use in their home or lobby the school boards to adopt. We demonstrate the need for more flexible approaches to schooling with our demands for online schooling or partial enrollment. We explore elements of education, unschooling, interest-led learning, etc. that schools, by their nature, often can't. We create a different standard and example for how involved parents should be in their children's life and education. We push the conversation surrounding education to places it simply couldn't go otherwise.
I think we're the radicals in education. Every discussion has the radicals and every important discussion needs them. Now, I often don't like what radicals have to say myself. In the discussion of religion and atheism I generally can't hack a Sam Harris or a Christopher Hitchens but at the same time they move the conversation to places that people only whispered about before. Religion as child abuse? The thought makes me angry and uncomfortable but it's not a statement without some foundation and it does encourage a better examination of matters I might previously have ignored.
In education, that's us. But if that's us then maybe we need to take a step outside our circles. Of course, this relates to my Inviting People Into Our Homeschooling post. It also relates to this excellent post by Taylor the Teacher who seems to be encouraging teachers to start speaking up about school issues in their blogs because:
I mean, I hate to be a bitch, but this thing is irreparably broken. The school system, that is.
Look at that. It's broken. She's a teacher and I'm a homeschooler and we completely agree on that. That step outside our homeschooling could be towards those entrenched in the system who see from the inside what we see from the outside. Granted, we probably wouldn't agree on what the solutions might be but in discussing our differences we might start to see the beginning of some new avenues to explore. Heck, in the past when teachers and homeschooling met look what we got out of the deal, John Holt, the beginnings of unschooling and John Taylor Gatto.
End of ramble.