Having our Cake and Eating It Too

By: David Prepare dinner

“You simply cannot have your cake and take in it too.”

In addition to becoming one particular of the most complicated idioms in the English language, it’s also been about longer than most. This 16th-century phrase proceeds to be one particular of the most employed means to say, “you can’t have two incompatible items.” You need to select amongst two matters that are not able to co-exist.

You may be wondering what “having your cake and feeding on it too” has to do with generating learner-centered, fairness-targeted finding out environments for youthful persons.

It’s straightforward. There only is not ample evidence that you can have a learner-centered education and learning procedure (possessing your cake) while perpetuating the present system that hasn’t substantively adjusted because its 1894 inception. A present-day system that, even though extremely productive at its purpose, is inherently inequitable mainly because it steps all learners in the similar way as if they ended up widgets (eating it far too).

Owning Your Cake

It is widely agreed among educators, civil rights advocates, and child welfare specialists that the U.S. education system is neither equitable nor does it adequately handle the needs of all learners. What is wanted is a technique that sets each individual learner up for accomplishment according to their distinctive demands. Only then will we have authentic equity. That is when we know we have a real “learner-centered” system.

The chief components of a learner-centered process centre on the specific learner, not the device of the program.

David Cook

Instruction Reimagined is an firm empowering educators and stakeholders in this movement. At Schooling Reimagined the premise of a learner-centered system is elementary.

“We (Education and learning Reimagined) stand for learner-centered instruction due to the fact it presents the likelihood of accurate liberation and equity in education. At its main, learner-centered instruction honors and values the humanity and dignity of every single child—seeing them as exceptional, curious, wondrous, and capable. It enables every single youthful particular person to find out and deliver forth their one of a kind talents and passions in ways that contribute to their local community and society. And it empowers each educator, loved ones, and group to make the distinction they are dedicated to earning for young people.” (From the Training Reimagined website).

This wish for a correct learner-centered technique is our “cake.”

The main features of a learner-centered program heart on the specific learner, not the equipment of the procedure:


Learner-Centered Programs Look This Way

Range, Fairness and Inclusion

Diversity, fairness and inclusion methods attain results by concentrating on the unique learner vs . a inhabitants team, recognizing all learners are distinctive. Determined desires of each and every learner are supported because of the learner’s uniqueness compared to getting classified as section of a distinct group.

Rigor, Relevance and Interactions

It is recognized that rigor and relevance are not realized by escalating the issues of pupil function. Rigor and relevance are set up when each individual teacher identifies the exclusive combination of skills/strengths, pursuits, and other very important requirements of every learner. A solid trainer-learner connection is very important to success.


Assessments serve instruction, not the other way all around.


Accountability moves from a compliance-based mostly process to a most effective-positive aspects method. The system is accountable for how it fulfills the discovering requires of the person.

In these devices, teachers are more deeply engaged in instructing for the reason that learners are more deeply engaged and concentrated. Instructors have greater flexibility to guarantee their learners’ mastery of expertise, abilities, and tendencies.

Ingesting It Way too

It may well shock you to know that the other piece of cake – our present-day system in this context – is really efficient in its supposed intent. In simple fact, it is probably one of the most helpful and productive techniques at any time. It’s carrying out particularly what it was built to do, which was:

  • Train all learners as if they are the exact same
  • Assesses them all as if they ended up the similar and
  • Make choices about long run instruction centered upon these one-minded instructional and assessment practices.

In addition to undertaking a excellent job at assembly its aims, it’s been the norm in the U.S. given that the Committee of Ten created it in 1894. That’s not a typo. You browse it right. Our technique has been the acknowledged norm for 128 a long time.

What else can you title in our globe right now that seems the same as it did 128 decades ago?

Yeah, I couldn’t come up with nearly anything good either.

If we use a equivalent chart like the one previously mentioned, you can see how the present-day process is hugely helpful at carrying out its targets.


The Current Process Appears to be This Way

Range, Fairness and Inclusion

Range, fairness and inclusion are obtained by administering statewide summative assessments adopted by instituting populace team-based “improvement” courses. The objective is to lessen the “gap” amongst the overall scores of groups compared to other groups. Considering the fact that significant worth is not put on personal learners, it competently does its task of measuring how certain labeled groups of learners carry out on a a single-size-fits all, minute-in-time assessment.

Rigor, Relevance and Interactions

Rigor and relevance are established by escalating possibly the issues or quantity of operate for the group of learners viewed as in the gap. Tens of millions of dollars are used each year inspite of the deficiency of proof it performs. Makes an attempt to produce associations take place in some cases soon after pupils are classified primarily based on their assessment effectiveness.


All instruction serves the assessment. Train the take a look at.


All accountability is compliance-based mostly, targeted on obtaining a rating to make certain compliance with federal and condition regulation.

As you can see from the chart, it is assumed all learners are alike and created instruction and curriculum are to be sent just one way. Evaluation is carried out just one way as if assessing widgets on a factory assembly line. Regrettably, the sorting of learners primarily based on their evaluation performance, relatively than what they have learned, takes place every single working day in this country. This procedure does not have a drive to KNOW each individual learner.

There have been endeavours in the past to change the procedure. In 1918, the Nationwide Education Affiliation commissioned a analyze and replaced the suggestions of the Committee of 10 with the “Seven Ideas of Secondary Education and learning.” Those 7 ideas were about educating the total child vs . academic pursuits by itself. Unfortunately, things did not change. Our system carries on to observe the recommendations of the Committee of 10 earlier mentioned the Seven Principles.

Base line: There is very little “broken” about the recent method.

For a long time teachers, directors, families, communities and learners have fought hard to get greater at a technique that wasn’t supposed to be equitable or learner-centered.

Therein lies the purpose for their continued stress. Hoping to take care of a program that is not broken.

Which is part of the reason so a lot of are caught feeding on this cake. Considering that it is so successful, it does have the result of increasing SOME results for SOME learners.

It’s basically the mistaken method.

It is Time to Choose Your Cake

Here’s the detail. The idiom is ideal. You Simply cannot have your cake and consume it too. You ought to pick concerning a legitimate and substantive fairness experiencing, learner-centered procedure that puts its hard work and income the place its mouth is OR a system that is made to develop widgets, fraught with inequity born of its preference to evaluate all learners the very same even though offering lip support to acknowledging each individual learner is special.

We have tried far as well extended to serve two ideals. It’s time to decide on the cake that serves all people dependent on their exceptional and particular person skills, requirements, and strengths.

Let’s get baking.

David Prepare dinner is the Director of Revolutionary Understanding at Kentucky’s Department of Education.