Changing Schools to Embrace the Local
We’re hoping that many of the readers of this book are now thinking, “Yes! Placeand community-based education is the answer for all the questions we’ve got about improving schools and moving towards greater community sustainability.” It’s certainly been a valuable new paradigm for many of the schools and communities described in this book. As the Maine superintendent said, “Place-based education is the basket; it’s not an egg in the basket.” By this she meant that place-and-community-based education is a whole new way of looking at how schools, their local communities, and the ecosystem relate to each other. It’s not just a new math program or a new approach to youth sports; it’s a paradigm shift based on systems thinking and community sustainability. And we hope we’ve articulated the valuable differences between the top-down No Child Left Behind model of school change and the grass-roots place-and community-based model of school change. While No Child Left Behind emphasizes competition, place-based education emphasizes collaboration, a “we’re all in this together” mindset.