Mar. 9, 2014

How do we fix our education system ?

...so what are some solutions ?  Japan may be a possible model. Japanese children know more American history than our own children. How can that be ? Their curriculums demand results, not "feel-good" results, but real, "advance if you can results". Our education system is currently a glorified babysitting service that provides some basics for everyone as long as one doesn't expect too much, but no accountability for real learning. Storing facts in short term memory for regurgitation at exam time is not "learning" in the sense that it becomes a useful tool. How many youngsters complete high school having passed basic math requirements yet cannot make simple change or calulate a 15-20% tip in their heads ? Why is it that no current high school graduates have any real world working skills unless they learned them while working outside jobs? Perhaps a new system of education could change this situation, but again, it will take forward thinking people willing to step outside the box. 

Most of what we really learn in the way of basic human knowledge allowing us to function in society is learned early. If we focused grades 1-4 on those basics, no computers, no exotic visual aids, just reading, writing and math taught repetively until LEARNED, we might have a sound foundation to move forward. From grades 5-8, all other subjects could enter the spectrum including computers. After finishing grade 8, it is decision time. Does the child want to follow a vocational program where a marketable skill is learned prior to graduating high school, or an advanced curriculum leading to college and advanced degrees. A skilled welder or plumber straight out of high school would be every much as valued an asset as the youngster looking to becoming a doctor, yet facing 12 more years of schooling. Instead, we allow our youth to exit high school with little or no skills and in fact, ill-prepared to tackle college classes without remediation. It is little wonder that the classic 4-year college education is now a 5-6 year event with the attentant high cost of advanced education !  Think of ways to improve our education system and turn it into something that produces contributing members for society. Our current system fails to do this.