Wednesday, March 18, 2009

One Size Never Fits All

As poor as the American high school education system can be, it does have a grip on one concept that we could apply to the ALS cause.

Think of the four years and the differences in students between that first year and the fourth year. Think of the differences between student interests and their parents' interests. It's not rocket science that schools find activities and niches and educational approaches for first-year students that are vastly different from those supplied for seniors. Educators present different programs for parents than for the students themselves. Alumni are engaged very differently than sophomores. Neighbors of the school are included differently from seniors.

No school is foolish enough to toss up one educational program and then to expect all of the stakeholders to achieve at their highest levels.

Since the typical course of ALS takes around four years, perhaps we can learn from an analogy with the high school education experience. One size of advocacy engagement does not fit all.


Anonymous said...

Since the youth of our country feel as though they are Indestructible maybe a new prerequisite would be the movie by the same name. I cannot believe that this movie has not had the attention it deserves.

Sleepy said...

Excellent point imo.

A vision for engaging large numbers of our youth would do wonders for the cause.

Certainly "Indestructible" and other media products that appeal to young people should be part of that.

We have opportunities to add solid lessons about ALS (the disease process, the legal issues, the sports figures, the impact on families, the lack of progress, the famous PALS,...) to school curricula at many levels. What teacher wouldn't love some standards-based, quality lesson plans (that might include a film)?

There are so many missed opportunities to inform and spark the curiosity of our young people who might someday be those scientists who will figure out the ALS mystery. Some of those young people will become journalists of the new media. Others may become attorneys or elected officials who will help the cause.

We have to get their attention, and it has to be more than fleeting fundraising projects and walk teams. We need a vision and some imagination and energy to spark the fire.

Anonymous said...

Did you ever wonder what it would take to keep all those who have lost loved ones to ALS and let them build into a huge advocacy group? We seem to lose most of them.