As the class of 2025 starts their first school year, Time Magazine wrote an article titled “the Class of 2025”. This article posing a theory that under minds everything an education should be:
“The prevailing contemporary vision, even in liberal arts, emphasizes action: active thought, active expression, active preparation for lifelong learning, Engaging with a text or question, marshaling data and arguments and expressing oneself takes precedence over the acquisition of general knowledge.”
The article attempts to describe the value of an education to a business – the future employer. 8 out of every 10 I have hired in the last decade are great at expressing themselves – on Facebook. But put them into a situation where they have to; a) Listen and b) Connect the dots of others in the conversation and they are totally lost.
What value is “expressing oneself” if you don’t have any facts and are expressing only thoughts and emotions?
Apparently there’s a movement to create a post-graduation test (Collegiate Learning Assessment -CLA+) to judge a students knowledge after graduation. The intent is twofold: 1) provide a baseline for parents to judge a college’s performance; and 2) provide the same baseline to businesses. This all sounds great but don’t we already have that? Every large business knows which schools put out the best industrial or aerospace engineers, lawyers or MBA’s. There’s another flaw in this thinking. What is the baseline!?
The value in any education is the type of career/profession where the student is capable of success. All students are not capable of attaining success in every profession. And every student will not measure success the same way. So all this is accomplishing is wasting time and money and creating human robots.
A test at the end of 16-20 years of education is looking at the problem from the wrong direction. Why not start at the beginning? The best education must focus on determining the skills of the student and nurturing those skills from an early age to death.
I have written before about America’s education system and proposed (from my perspective) a solid solution. One focused on the beginning and applying our tax dollars in the right place.
- The Department of Education (read this letter to Former President Obama) spends over $60,000,000,000 annually and not 1 cent on education. It all goes to free breakfasts, free lunches, after school day care, etc. The Federal Department of Education responsibility should only be what the States cannot do – create curriculum. Take the 250 bachelor degree programs and create a curriculum for each that starts in kindergarten and ends up with the degree. States cannot afford this effort and can’t create a national educational program. So let the Fed’s do it. This saves the taxpayers over $60B a year!
- Focus on “Pre-Assessment” not Post-Assessment. Start with the mind of a young child and for the first few years of their education, identify what they excel at. Some will be math, or science, or writing. Then counsel them through the appropriate courses for the next 10-15 years.
Our education system needs to be erased and started over. Forget the past and build an unbreakable future. Get experienced business people into the conversation. And it can all be done in 5 years or less.