How to Fix Our Education System

October 26, 2009 at 12:41 pm 4 comments

We have to compete at quality. The way that’s going to happen is if we have leadership at the top and a real fear through this society that if we don’t compete better by educating our best students—which means getting the best teachers, which means rewarding them for results—we’re going to fall behind.

via How to Fix Our Education System – WSJ.com.

Interesting that the first heading in this story is, “It’s the teachers.”  This is a different take than Friedman (or I) am taking — they’re emphasizing “the best.”

Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

Scratch and more CS Ed in this month’s CACM Do we need to improve tenure?

4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Alan Kay  |  October 26, 2009 at 1:59 pm

    “The unexamined life is not worth living” — Socrates

    These people simply have no perspective on education or themselves …

    Cheers,

    Alan

    Reply
  • 2. Darrin Thompson  |  October 26, 2009 at 2:31 pm

    All three say compete compete compete.

    They seem to agree between them, without saying it outright, that the Teachers’ Union(s?) is the primary obstacle to improving education.

    It sounds like if they had their way they’d install more standardized tests and put the teachers on some kind of standardized test commission. I don’t see how that would improve anything. Might be worse.

    Reply
  • 3. Norcross Schools  |  October 26, 2009 at 6:01 pm

    When bureaucracies, especially inherently political ones, run anything, capital will never be optimized. Furthermore, special interest agendas will become empowered and the students’ education will suffer. I find it interesting that I hear the word “competition” coming out of educational bureaucrats’ mouths. They must be referring to “competition according to the will of the holders of power.” In other words, competition is the ONLY way to fix the education system in the U.S.and our country has become too soft and too anti-capitalist to endure the necessary overhaul…and the NEA, ACLU and others will spend their special interest money in order to fight it, as well.

    Reply
  • 4. Mark Miller  |  October 28, 2009 at 3:16 am

    In general I think that competition does provide benefits to customers, particularly when it comes to commodities. However if we’re talking about raising the quality of education there are some stats and some history that we should pay attention to. What doesn’t get addressed in this article is the other part of the equation: a culture that values education. Most surveys show that parents (around 65%) think public schools are doing a good job of educating their children right now. Their expectations as far as what schools can and should do in developing students’ minds are pretty low, compared to parents in other parts of the world. It seems to me that competition would not change this much. Instead we might see what we got when microcomputers became commercialized: Low expectations resulted in poor computing models beating out most quality designs. The poorer designs were more cost-competitive (if quality was ignored), more understandable to the general public which had poor ideas about computing, or more often than not fit their immediate goals as just machines that did useful work, like a combine or mill. The end result is what we have today. It all came about because of competition. The quality of the poor designs has improved as a result, but that’s not saying much. Surely if one were to ask around it would be easy to find people who would say they’re satisfied with the state of technology, though you wouldn’t hear that from everybody. The difference is most people don’t know that there have been better ideas out there for a while now, so we all just think we have to deal with it, even if we have complaints, I suppose thinking it could be worse.

    What happened in the competitive computer market was a scenario of immediate degradation of quality, though it was at a level that people found beneficial for their own needs. In the case of the school system, I’m not convinced that quality would measurably improve. There have been some success stories with charter schools, but the story is mixed. There are some bad charters that have not shown any improvement over what poor performing public schools in the same area have been able to achieve.

    Reply

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