Education, Work and Quality

Jared Bernstein offers valuable thoughts on the relationship between education and work.   He argues quite credibly that the wage return on higher education has leveled off since about the 1990’s.  Bernstein asserts this is not because of a mismatch between what corporations need and what higher education institutions provide.  However he does claim “we’d have a better economy/society with higher levels of educational attainment…to have smarter, better educated people in all of those jobs makes all the sense in the world.”


However the price one pays for his/her education should be commensurate with the ability that his/her education provides him/her to pay for it while at the same time affording the necessities of a healthy life. Continue reading

Reformer Education

A recent Huffington Post article describes the agreement and disagreement between Arne Duncan (Secretary of Education) and Dennis Van Roekel (President of National Teachers Association) over the preparation and evaluation of teachers respectively.  Sadly what is not being discussed—as can be inferred from the article—is the very process of learning. Continue reading

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