On Educational Reform: The Need

While attending a workshop in 2008, after seeing this slide below I said to myself, this is the reason why education needs to change. Interestingly, the workshop wasn’t about educational reform.

The basis for my opinion is simple. The current educational model is based on preparing workers for an industrial age. Legislation designed with hopes of improving schools is also based on the same model. Attention everyone, the Industrial Age has long passed.

Sometime in the mid-1990s I heard someone from the Ohio Department of Education say something like the following (and this is close):

Given the system we have, there’s no doubt the teachers of Ohio are doing better because the testing statistics show such; but here’s the real question: Is this the system we want to perfect?

Brilliant … absolutely brilliant; thus something I’ve never forgotten. In similar spirit, I describe education as a car built on a Model T chassis with the top-performing districts displaying a Corvette or Cadillac body. As the public sees the beautiful outside, it doesn’t notice its outdated framework. In other words, regardless of the appearance, it’s a Motel T. Ah yes, the power of the illusion.

For those thinking I’m the only one with this thought, see the International Center for Leadership in Education.

Image property of TechEmpower

8 thoughts on “On Educational Reform: The Need

  1. Oh how I could go on and on about many of the necessary changes to the American education system. Oh wait, I did with my Master’s thesis… Trust me, the more you look into it, the more discouraging it all becomes.


    • Chris,
      I know enough to read into your comments and concur. This image simply struck me and I’ve been holding on to the thought, thus finally posted. Of course I also have a post (in the vault) on why education can’t (unable to) change … but it will come out soon.
      Thanks for the comment!


  2. The US Educational system is really great, I don’t know much about it, but Asians really agree that learning in the America is a very good opportunity.


    • Kebby,
      As a young Asian, I appreciate your comments. There are numerous Americans who point to the Asian success in testing results. I’m one who believes in a new way.

      Also I need to differentiate the grades K-12 and colleges. My comments are toward grades K-12, meanwhile, U.S. colleges are highly regarded. After all, if they weren’t, why do so many non-Americans from across the globe attend!

      Thanks for your perspective!


  3. Ain’t no doubt they is some gaps in our systim of edumcashum. To me the most distressing tendency is the “fairness” doctrine that has permeated academia.
    According to the curve of normal distribution, in a given student universe, there will be failures, near failures, passing, better than passing and way better than passing grades. For the exceptions, the teachers red pencil can override.
    In my humble opinion, this curve and exception condition is not far from the reality of life. When the system ignores how life is, the student and general population are not well served. In fact, such practices are a travesty since you only have one opportunity to educate a human being.
    Life is not fair. Learning the adult practice of handling disappointments is no less important than experiencing the “thrill of victory.” You get the drift.
    I could rattle on ad nauseum on this subject, but won’t.


    • Joe,
      First of all, cheers for your writing style in this one!

      I must concur about the normal distribution. Oh how much in life fits that curve.

      What you called the “Fairness Doctrine” I call the Self-esteem centered approach … thus would probably find much agreement with each other.

      This post simply wanted to point to a visual of why change should occur. You may be interested on an future education-related post about why it can’t change.

      Nonetheless, I always appreciate your insightful comments!

      PS: Pass this post along to your Corndancer education colleague.


  4. I don’t disagree that our education system needs an overhaul. I do doubt that our current crop of education experts have the answers.

    I’m interested in knowing just what “creators and empathizers” are and why we are going to need many of them. Did they go over that in the presentation?


  5. Pingback: Flashbacks: On Education | A Frank Angle

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