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Saturday, April 14, 2012

In Dealing with Schools, The First Step is Getting Past Denial and Admitting We Have a Problem

We, as a society, have to solve this problem that is our school system. This problem extends to all levels across K-16. But we can't honestly deal with schools until we get over our collective denial.

We are in denial about:
  • How much (all) schools (really) cost.
  • How poorly schools prepare our children for the productive world.
  • How guild-like the academic culture is, especially at the PhD level.
  • How much schools collectively act like expansionistic monopolies, actively growing while restricting our choices.
  • How much the role of "day care" has become the killer app of schools.
  • How hard it is to get rid of bad teachers.
  • How badly the process of deciding what content gets taught is curated.
  • How psychologically damaging the school environment is for about half of the school children.
  • How ill-equipped schools are to evolve around the rise of the Internet.
  • How unjustified and harmful the requirement of college admissions is in the school process, and a college degree is in the hiring process.
  • The degree to which the people who are paid to run schools are set up to be bureaucrats, not leaders, and the problems that causes.
  • How we promote the students that best "game" the system, rather than the smartest or most capable.
  • What motivates most teachers, and how manipulative teachers have to be.
  • How inappropriate any school's promise of taking over a parent's responsibility for childhood education actually is.
Then, we are in denial about how to fix schools. Our creativity deficit in this area is staggering. We can't tweak our schools to produce world-class education. It will take more leadership than we think.

And once we get past denial, the next step is anger. Then, sorry, work.

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