Why Educate

Why educate? For cognitive development!  We see ourselves as intelligent beings and therefore we see the need to use our intellect to acquire knowledge in support of cognitive development. Operationally education involves disseminating facts from within various subjects/disciplines and then testing for retention and recall, with the percent passing a test being the indicator of educational success. Continue reading

Democracy’s Viability Depends on Education

According to a recent Newsweek survey among 1,000 U.S. citizens, “29 percent couldn’t name the vice president. Seventy-three percent couldn’t correctly say why we fought the Cold War. Forty-four percent were unable to define the Bill of Rights. And 6 percent couldn’t even circle Independence Day on a calendar.”  As Andrew Romano, the author of the Newsweek article noted, “…the world has changed. And unfortunately, it’s becoming more and more inhospitable to incurious know-nothings—like us.”  To quote Plato, “the price good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men.”  The need for a curiosity of mind in all human endeavors, particularly in business, education and government, should be clear. Continue reading

Don’t Confuse Efficiency with Proficiency

No matter how much we cram into a person’s memory and no matter what the beloved metrics show, we are left with people who haven’t learned how to learn. Directing them to accumulate facts just silences their inquisitiveness! Today as in the past education is more about training people to remember things for the test than it is about developing people for life as self-responsible human beings with the capability of continually improving their thinking—such is thinking critically. Continue reading

The Worker Is Not the Problem

If the education system wasn’t designed to consistently produce the results that it is producing then we wouldn’t be getting the results we are getting!  Yet again and again the focus of the reformer is on the teacher, not the system itself.  Why?  Because it is far easier to turn attention away from what the system is doing—and the system is management’s responsibility—toward what the worker is doing.   Yet the worker can only do what the system allows! Continue reading

Insights from the Impoverished

In a recent HuffingtonPost article David Chura brings to light the affect that poverty, despair and hopelessness have on people, especially during the formative years.  When individuals grow up in an environment within which such dark currents flow, they feel trapped and, as David Chura relates, a way out is likely imperceptible. Continue reading

Take the Education Reformers to Task

In a recent Huffington Post article, Diann Woodard argued for designing an educational system “to equip all children with the skills to exercise sound, independent judgment as workers and citizens will they be successfully educated” and challenged the data-driven business model reformers who advocate for vouchers, charter schools and test scores as the measure of success. Continue reading

Better Thinking Leads To Better Solutions

What might be the cause of the misuse or misinterpretation of research about education recently brought to light by Alfie Kohn in his January 28th article “Do tests really help students learn or was a new study misreported?”  Could this be evidence of what is being learned or not learned in the educational system?  Might the education of those—likely with good grades—who report about the problems of the educational system reflect the effects of a system in need of fundamental change? That is, the use of reductionism and correspondingly the many shortsighted answers offered by so many is further evidence of what’s wrong with the educational system. Continue reading

Envision Then Enact A Better Way

Being human creatures we are creators of the human experience. The origin of our creations rests in the mind of us, the creators. The system of beliefs and values held in our mind—the ideas and visions we enact—pre-figure our experiences, and yes our reality. Continue reading

On Economics and Education

In a recent article, JD Hoye (President, National Academy Foundation) stated:

It’s been said before but I’ll say it again. To rebuild this economy, we need workers who have the skills needed to be productive and innovative to lead us back to prosperity. But far too many young people drop out of school before even getting the chance to work. We need a strong education system to build a strong workforce. And it can’t be done alone.”

This statement implies that a major reason our economy is weak is because we haven’t workers with the needed skills.  Let’s take a step back to look at how we created the economic and educational situations we are in. Continue reading

Getting Education Right

Thomas Friedman’s editorial Teaching for America is but another article highlighting the troubled state of affairs of the educational system in the America.  Arne Duncan (Secretary of Education) reports “one-quarter of U.S. high school students drop out or fail to graduate on time. Almost one million students leave our schools for the streets each year.”  Clearly these are disturbing outcomes of the U.S. educational system, particularly when considered that they are common cause outcome patterns, not assignable cause patterns. Continue reading