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How can we improve our schools? This Maine educator has some compelling ideas

“We care more about what students can do than about who they are," he said.

PORTLAND, Maine — “One need not listen too hard to hear our schools crying out for reinvention,” Malcolm Gauld notes in “Culture by Design,” his new book about how to improve the culture of schools. “The real problem,” he states, “lies with our priorities.”

And what are those priorities? Gauld sums it up in a single sentence: “We care more about what [students] can do than about who they are, and they know it.”

Gauld has given these issues a lot of thought during more than four decades in education as a teacher, coach, and administrator, notably at Hyde School in Bath, where he served as president. He has concluded that a school’s culture plays a crucial role in either lifting students up or allowing them to fall behind.

So, what to do? Again, he boils his argument down to its essence: “Let us value attitude over aptitude, effort over ability, and character over talent.”

Gauld joined us on 207 to talk about some of the many problems schools wrestle with and how to address them. Watch our conversation to learn more about what he believes we can do better.

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