Monday, March 25, 2013

Overthrowing the Current Educational System

Forbes has a column here advocating the complete overthrow of the current educational system.  It's hard to tease out exactly what the author, Naveen Jain, is advocating--but some kind of system that will allow each children to be educated individually.  He wants us to think creatively.

I wanted to like this column but ended up just confused.  Yes, children learn differently but surely we have the same goals for most children:  sophisticated reading skills, competence in math, science, and technology, and some knowledge of history, foreign languages, and literature.   I’m not sure that simply overthrowing the current educational system will get us there.

What I would like to see is more study of students who are very competent, and schools that are working well.  What experiences have the students had?  What are good schools doing?  For example, I was a high school English teacher for 37 years, and am very sure that advanced reading skills are only acquired through wide, avid reading.  All of my great students loved books and read extensively.

I also think that schools need to be funded and controlled locally.  I think Winston Churchill’s  comment about democracy fits education as well:  Schools controlled by a locally elected school committee is the worst system of education except for everything else.

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