Empowering Students to Design Their Own Futures

In moving education forward, how much does the system empower students to become successful citizens?

Students should be able to design their own futures, but that takes systemic change. These are big challenges and questions for Beyond the Classroom with host Tom Watkins and guest Marcy Raymond.

Raymond currently serves as Chief Strategy Officer for the PAST (Partnering Anthropology with Science and Technology) Foundation. The organization’s objective is to connect real-world scientific research with classrooms and the public.

Raymond’s passion for education is lifelong. “I was always inquisitive and liked designing and reimagining. My mother was an educator, so I grew up living it. But, I also know that not all kids have this opportunity to have a champion.”

Raymond noted that the assumption that everyone has the opportunity or can succeed by pulling up bootstraps is false. Instead, it assumes a student has boots. “We have to look at the notion of the whole child and all the experiences and context,” she said.

Supporting students up the ladder is often a narrow viewpoint, as well, according to Raymond. “Not every ladder looks alike, and we need to address that.”

The conversation centered around STEM in education, but Raymond explained that the concept of STEM goes beyond math and science. “It’s the ability of a student to understand how to design a result to a problem that didn’t exist before. It’s equipping students to operate in an environment where we don’t know all the parameters.”

Society and culture also play roles in the narrative. “If a culture doesn’t believe advancement can happen, it reduces the likelihood of trying. We need to change the paradigm with early experiences that build over time,” Raymond said.

Raymond spoke of a unique example involving Columbus City Schools. “They are doing summer school differently as summer experiences, where kids go into immersive pathways to work on skills.”

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