I am going to suggest something that is far a field of what most who read this would consider. This is not to meant raise the ire of those reading. This is simply for the purposes of discussion. (And a lively discussion is what I expect).
I submit we are educating our twenty first century children with nineteen century methods.
What so I mean? In 1885 we had the Little Red Schoolhouse that had a schoolmarm teaching the three R’s. In one hundred thirty years, as man learned to drive, fly and even go into space; we still have the same thing, only bigger.
If you look at a typical classroom today you will see the teacher standing (or sitting) writing on a screen that transposes the information to a smart board. Look at the room and you will see the students with their heads down staring at their laptops, notebooks or tablets.
So, picture this, you have fifteen to twenty five people all connected electronically with the teacher who is connected electronically to the smart board.
I pose a question. Why do we need the brick and mortar building?
Why are we putting our kids in a cage for six hours a day? Why do we force them to sit in a germ infested room all day? How many times have you heard the phrase, “It’s going around the school.”?
I have “attended” several webinars. I meet with and learn from people all over the country (and the world for that matter). I interact with them in the same manner as our teacher is interacting with the students in the classroom. I didn’t need to go to a room in a building to learn. Things such as on line webinars are using twentieth century technology. It is still an interaction with a teacher. BUT it is a far and away improvement from the brick and mortar style education we use in public and most private schools today.
I have not even touched on twenty first century technology. With artificial intelligence, a computer program can learn the student’s weak and strong areas and focus on those areas that need more attention. Now the student is self paced and is not held back or dragged forward by others trying to learn the same thing. That can’t be done in a classroom.
This is the way education should be working. It isn’t. Why? I have two theories to kick around.
One – The education establishment (spelled education monopoly) does not like it. It gives the power to choose back to the parent or guardian. The national teacher’s unions don’t like it. It takes power (and dues) away from them.
Two – Today’s parents have become used to a public paid baby sitting service. Tell parents that the school will no longer house students and they will revolt. They want their “free stuff”.
One more point and I’ll let this go to conversation:
Today in the United States of America we are graduating kids who can not read their own report cards. They can not do simple math, such as make change. The public education system in these United States on average is equal with Lartvia, the Slovak Republic, and Lithuania. That is not a shock statement, look it up here: The Programme For Individual Student Assessment results for 2012. It clearly shows that we are not only failing but slipping more behind with each year.
Now before the education lobby get all over me and insists that they don’t have enough money to do it right, I would like to point out that the report from PISA clearly states money is not the issue.
“While the U.S. spends more per student than most countries, this does not translate into better performance. For example, the Slovak Republic, which spends around USD 53,000 per student, performs at the same level as the United States, which spends over USD 115,000 per student.
Just over one in four U.S. students do not reach the PISA baseline Level 2 of mathematics proficiency a higher than OECD average proportion and one that hasn’t changed since 2003. At the opposite end of the proficiency scale, the U.S. has a below average share of top performers.”
I think it is time for our kids to get the advantages they deserve. It is time to “tear down this wall” of education malaise and unleash our kids’ full learning ability. To do that, we need to think in terms and practices of 2014, not 1885.