29 Aug Knowledge-based dilemma: How do you fix stupid?
Public school systems are not preparing our “future generation” to compete in the global economy. There are too many people trying to hang on to obsolete principles and concepts that date back to the Industrial Age approach of teaching students to assimilate into an Industrial Age job. The bottom line is that students are not coming out knowing too much.
Unfortunately, a recent Miss Teen contest spotlights this problem better than anything I could have ever come up with. A fumbled question by the Miss Teen of South Carolina was sent to me by a former student. He sent his e-mail Monday with this caveat:
I’m really sorry. I RARELY send out these things, but this was too good (or bad).
The YouTube clip of the question and answer is an indictment of South Carolina’s education system. It was even featured the next day on FOX News.
Here is the video with subtitles so you can follow her answer:
Some would argue that this was an isolated case; I am overstating the problem; and I am unfairly highlighting a moment of stage stress. My focus is not to look at the individual but to look closer at the school system that developed her set of skills.
Slurring their Rs
My argument has been stated many times. The Three Rs that they are still teaching for Industrial Age skills – Rote, Repetition, and Routine – are not the skills sets needed to compete in today’s and tomorrow’s job markets. And even with these areas, they are not doing a good job.
Students today need Flexibility, Adaptability, Creativity, and of course, technology skills. It is what I refer to as FACT-based education.
South Carolina takes the spotlight
That clip is not the sole evidence for my article on overhauling schools. I know I would get criticized by those who want to protect the status quo and their jobs. This led to some in-depth video research that surprisingly also focused on South Carolina’s less-than-adequate school system. Stupid in America 20/20: How we cheat our kids really spotlights what is going on, not just in South Carolina but in public schools in general.
This clip is about 40 minutes long, but I think it’s well worth viewing:
For those that will view it later, I will summarize it and say that South Carolina has the honor of being last in all states as far as student performance on the SATs, the standardized tests that kids better score high on if they want attend a good school.
The superintendent of schools in South Carolina makes all excuses to the reporter as to the SAT tests not being a good indicator and that they have high standards in South Carolina, they have made improvements and blah, blah, blah.
Unfortunately, her defense of the poor performance fails to recognize that the SATs are pretty much “the standard tool” for assessment that any university – which isn’t on the cover of a matchbook or in the back pages of the monthly flight magazine on planes – uses to evaluate applicants.
The superintendent is the typical bureaucrat using so much energy and spin in making every argument to defend a poor system instead of using that energy to question where can it be fixed or replaced. Maybe she needs to simply watch the Miss Teen video to realize her school system is definitely not preparing students. If Miss Teen of South Carolina is supposedly one of the state’s brighter students, I would hate to see the performance of one of its average students.
The 20/20 video also shows a test result given to one American high school class in New Jersey and one class in Belgium. How bad did they do on the test? The Americans scored 47 percent and the Belgian class scored 76 percent. And we spend so much on education. Money is not the answer.
Time to break up the anachronism
Should we break up the public school system? It really is an anachronism. What is an anachronism? It’s something that is not current with the times.
Do you still feel that public schools graduate people that have good global skill sets? Watch this video which is similar to what Jay Leno does in asking general questions on the street.
The public school system was built to assimilate people into a workforce for Industrial Age jobs. Today, we are not only past the Industrial Age, we are past the Information Age, we are now in the Network Age or the Mobile Information Age. We need to change the current system and not just fuel its mismanaged direction with more money.
CARLINI-ISM: Whether it is a company or a country, whoever has the best educated workforce is the toughest competitor.
Recent articles by James Carlini
• James Carlini: Bandwidth fairy tales: When will the “Three Little Pigs” get it right?
• James Carlini: Municipal Wi-Fi “experts” have egg on their faces
• James Carlini: How good (or bad) is your local emergency plan?
• James Carlini: Product dumping, labor dumping – it’s all the same
• James Carlini: Green is the color of speed in ranking broadband infrastructure
This article previously appeared in MidwestBusiness.com, and was reprinted with its permission.
The opinions expressed herein or statements made in the above column are solely those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Wisconsin Technology Network, LLC.
WTN accepts no legal liability or responsibility for any claims made or opinions expressed herein.