The hard evidence that our schools are failing to properly educate our students is there for all to see. I am not the first one to sound the alarm. But if you are a passenger and your driver is headed for a wall you are obligated to say something.
This begs a single question, and it needs to be answered: Why are America’s educational leaders – and by that I mean policymakers not teachers, principals or superintendents – unwilling to accept that the status quo is unsustainable by any reasonable measure?
The students of today will make their way into a world where technology and the human mind will be more and more indistinguishable. In a very few years today’s students will carry around micro quantum computers with a speed, invulnerability and capacity unimaginable by most of us today. Knowing this we persist in exclusively teaching our students objective facts – knowns – and then repeatedly and coercively testing them; when in fact what our new industry needs are people who can discover unknowns. Employers and policymakers must know that Google already knows most of the facts, and soon will know all of them: and Google never misses an opportunity to remind us of this.
So why persist in exclusively teaching America’s students this outdated and increasingly redundant skill?
The only rational explanation is that the education policymakers must have a vested interest in keeping this antiquated teaching/learning system in place: in other words keeping the status quo must mean keeping money in their bank accounts. Changing it to a more appropriate one would cost them their livelihood. And of course they, not our schools or families, write the rules.
This all happens by way of insidious lobbyists (usually ex-congressman or former civil servants) with limitless funds benefitting from the ‘revolving-door.’ From Capitol Hill to K Street.
For example drug companies, with help from lobbyists, have convinced congress that their prices are now non-negotiable – congress has voted repeatedly and over decades to make sure they are now corrupt, monopolistic and not subject to market competition just like they wanted it. According to laws that their lobbyists wrote American taxpayers must pay whatever Big Pharma demands.
These are the same drug companies and their lobbyists who have flooded American communities with opioids; and 200,000 Americans have so far died. All in the name of profiting from the status quo, despite overwhelming evidence that it is not working for the benefit of most stakeholders: voters and their families; in fact quite the reverse.
If this is not corrupt and perverted policymaking I don’t know what is. It is legalized bribery. It happens in all businesses at all levels of government.
Which brings me to the lobbyists for school text book publishers such as Pearson who push their decades-old curriculum offerings to our schools by convincing your Congress that their shareholders’ interests are more important than those of American children and families, and their control over our curriculum lives on; despite the evidence that it is woefully inadequate, out-of-date and, like opioids, doing great harm to the future of the United States of America. That is willful ignorance.
If Pearson would be open to it I would be happy to supply them with ideas for a more appropriate 21st century curriculum. I doubt they will respond.
Greed always trumps ethical behavior in D.C. It is nothing new, but reaching outrageous proportions.
There are fifty million students in the USA each with their own reason to learn; not a single one written by lobbyists and sanctioned by a congress that listens to donors more than constituents.
Here’s one way teachers might help students learn in a non-coercive, student-centric manner that is more appropriate to the 21st century. Socrates invented it; I benefitted from it. You can too. #makeamericathinkagain. Here’s how.