What would schools look like if they were designed around the needs of students?
That’s the question that drives the work of Rebecca Wolfe, director of the Massachusetts-based Students at the Center project, part of the nonprofit Jobs For the Future.
Called “personalized learning,” the idea sounds simple: Let the students dictate the direction and pace of instruction. Its adherents claim that not only will student outcomes improve, but point to research that shows it works particularly well for students of color. However, convincing the many entrenched interests that run school bureaucracies to give in to such a radical change can be a challenge.
Q: One of the tenets of Students at the Center is that each student must be provided with the scaffolding and differentiated support needed to keep progressing at a pace that allows the student to reach college, career, and civic outcomes, even when unequal resources are required to achieve a more equitable result. Do you think the U.S. believes in the last part of that statement, or is there still great resistance to it?