I did my best, on the spot, to explain to her the tangle of my hopes and frustrations. The video captures some of it. I might even go so far as to say most of it.

These educators are, of course, speaking of a national trend and a national issue. It's to be expected that local school districts will have their own variations on each point being raised, but the thread of commonality that ties us all together remains.

Our children, across the board, are suffering because of the reforms that have been implemented over the last 20+ years.

(We have seen) increased proscribed and scripted curriculum implemented by people who don't understand early childhood.

Wonder is the greatest gift that kids can give us. Everything amazes them. Layer that with their natural energy, and if we can figure out how to ignite their curiosity, children will teach themselves. In general, they want to build things and create. They want to discover.

But instead of tapping into those truths, our schools often spend the first two or three years teaching our children how to sit still and be quiet. How to go exactly against their natural inclinations.

I can't deny the importance of listening, or even of following directions. Why reinvent the wheel (or the computer) when someone else has already figured it out? Unless that's your passion and you particularly want to, in which case carry on. But otherwise, there's value in being able to learn from the experience of others.

But we take it too far sometimes, deciding exactly what a “normal” child should know when, rather than letting our students explore their strengths and gain the confidence necessary to venture beyond successfully.

Equity initiatives are being put to the side in order to comply with regulations.

And then there are the studies that find correlations grades and the number of book cases in a student's home. Acknowledgment of correlation and not causation, of course, is absolutely necessary. Otherwise, people like me would raise our hands and offer contradictions. It's easy to brush off the exceptions, to claim that some kids just aren't that into academics and that's okay. To a point, I agree.

And yet.

At my daughter's school a special point is made to remind kids who are achieving above expectations academically that kids who struggle there probably excel in other skills that are difficult for those traditional high achievers. Given that the tracking mentioned in the video starts in Kindergarten, from what I've seen, I have to wonder what these kids are all missing out on by not getting the opportunity to learn from each other.

How vibrant could these classrooms be if the readers and writers were allowed to document the things discovered by the mathematicians and scientists and brought into existence by the engineers and designers? What might happen if learning became a community activity, rather than an individual endeavor? How far could we go if we let everyone find their own success, rather than forcing them to conform to the version put forth by corporate society?

It isn't as easy as that, of course. Change never is, and if writing has taught me anything it's that the first version of an idea is rarely right. But that's really the point of all of this. If we don't have the conversation, then we will necessarily make the same mistakes over and over again. So have the conversation. Talk with your friends, talk with social workers, talk with kids. And if you have kids, talk to your kids' teachers and principles.

Have the conversation. Then see what happens.