July 23, 2014
what to make glamorous
Modern American society stands on two pillars – celebrity-worship and consumerism. Two pillars that compliment each other; two pillars that live in TV land. And high schools don’t know how to fit into this twenty-first century world.
The idea of glamoring aspects of schooling is important if we want young people to engage with us about their learning. They live in a world that communicates through TV, computers and hand-helds and as educators we need to participate in this media. If we want students to pay attention to schooling then we have to glamorize learning. If we want students to eat healthy, then we need to make healthy food look glamorous.
Few people in education understand the idea of glamoring aspects of learning. Most educators think that schools and learning should be separate from the cultural milieu that obsesses on celebrity and consumerism. This viewpoint will just mean that education will continue to exist in a limbo outside of the modern world. And this existence will continue until some corporation and some politician come along and change the rules. The politician will create the guidelines for private take-over, the corporation, through commercials, will glamorize learning and collect the billions that are now going to school districts. Will students learn anything in this new paradigm, who cares? Leaning will not be a goal, making money will be the goal. Students and parents are the consumers, and provided admissions and tuitions keep coming in, the shareholders wont care if anyone learns anything.
One of the things I’ve always worked for here at City High is to figure out how to make learning glamorous. From the beginning we advertised the new school in cinemas, on billboards and with direct-mail. We glamorize students who got into good colleges – graduation posters in the main hallway; students who had great Internships – website; students who worked for the Tech team – pictures on the first floor; students who worked at the school-store – brochures; students who were in the drama club – flyers. All PR materials featured students engaged in the learning process. (No where are there sports trophies, no where are there pictures of kids at the prom; at the fall dance.
In the last 3 years, we have put in place a breakfast and lunch program that offers students nutritious options. All our food is prepared and cooked on site by a certified chef, a sous-chef and support staff. We buy local products, watch portion sizes, control sugar quantity and monitor for salt content. The food is kid-friendly and nutritious. In our cafeteria we promote good eating and we have been wanting to glamorize good and nutritious foods. We just installed 9 amazing images of nutritious foods. Huge 4 X 4 images printed on plexiglass and showcasing fruits, vegetables and grains, all foods that we serve on a regular basis.
(The above image was taken by Laura Sheldon.)