Thinking Outside The Box On Education

crayon-banner  “Thinking outside the box” is a new sub-category within the Crayon Marks category. The term “thinking outside the box” entails a thinking process, which uses an unusual approach to a logical thinking structure. It´s a process which aims to escape relational reasoning,  and rising to another level.

school-1465744-640x480 copy.jpgThere is just too much stuff today where people say “That’s the way we have always done it.” To me, that is just an excuse for being too lazy to try to find something better. One of those areas is in our educational processes. I recently read some articles written one hundred years ago that show we really haven’t made much progress in education reform. We are stuck facing the very same issues without really trying alternative methods.

Most people, especially progressives are pretty upset that Betsy DeVoss is the new education secretary, but I welcome the radical change in leadership. Maybe some basic change will finally happen in this area. I have several retired teachers who read RJsCorner and they often vent their frustration with the educational systems today. I hope some of them chime in on this post to give their opinions.

The public school system as it is currently set up seems to be biased against a child who really wants to learn. Instead, it is about handling the ones who just don’t seem to care about their educations. That attitude likely comes from their parents for any of a number of reasons. For teachers, it is mainly about keeping control of their classrooms and not actually teaching students.

I am a Hoosier and I’m pretty sure that Indiana is toward the front when it comes to charter schools and vouchers.  I know there are a number of charter schools in our adjacent county which includes a major university. We are told by our government representatives that having a choice allows those who really want to learn to find a venue to accomplish that. I kind of buy into that.

Teacher’s unions just seem to be more interested in teachers than educating students. That is another basic problem that needs to be addressed.  How much will Mrs. DeVoss end up accomplishing in this area is very much the question at hand? But I think it is finally time to do some destruction so that maybe a phoenix can rise from the ashes.

I know that educating future generations is and should be a top priority of our country.  I also know that the vast majority of my property taxes and even my State taxes go toward that purpose and that much of that money is currently being wasted. Right now change, any change is better than kicking the can down the road. I wish the new education secretary success in changing the status quo.

 

 

When Robots Make Cars….

2016-03-20_13-12-16.png

I know that robots have taken over many of the repetitive tasks from us humans. Many see that as stripping jobs away from those who don’t care to otherwise be ready for today’s workforce.  The mind-numbing jobs are being taken over my mindless robots and that is as it should be. Let’s take auto manufacturing as an example:

  • Robots don’t make mistakes... They do the same thing over and over again because that is all they are programmed to do.
  • Robots don’t know Monday from Friday…. They don’t take their eye off the task at hand because they are still remembering the weekend or are anticipating the coming one.
  • Robots can do the same thing over and over with the same accuracy…. Not only do they not make mistakes but they do what they are programmed to do with extreme accuracy. They simply don’t have other distractions on their minds.

Let’s face it, compared to today’s cars, the cars of the 1970s, 80s, and 90s were junk. The fit and finish were terrible and the lemons made because of absent minded defects were very troublesome to those who were unfortunate enough to get them. Humans just never did a good job of making cars.

So where does that leave us humans? For those unprepared for anything else but mindless  assembly line work it leaves them with flipping hamburgers or other low skilled work  that were once meant as entry type jobs. But for those willing to put in the effort to equip themselves with the necessary skills it leaves them with opportunity. Many young people today are taking that opportunity but many are not. Some think they are not smart enough to learn, some just can’t afford it. The later needs our help but then again so does the former.

We need to make higher education more affordable, if not free, for anyone who wants to improve themselves.  Free high school education has been the norm now for many decades and now its time to kick that up a notch to at least two years of free trade school or college.

For those who don’t think they are smart enough we need to do a better job of encouraging them. We need to make learning as important to them as high school sports are now.  Part of that is a teacher thing but the biggest share belongs to the parents.

 

3 In 5 Americans Have No More That A High School Education

2016-01-24_14-58-07.pngIt surprised me to see Russia as having a higher percentage of young people with degrees than the U.S. But then I guess that is probably due to my ignorant view of that country. We in the U.S. have been lead to believe that everyone in Russia is poor, uneducated, and starving due to lack of opportunities in a communist system.  To see that they are actually more educated then we are is a cultural shock but not an unpleasant one at least to me. I need to spend some serious time learning more about Russia instead of just believing what is fed to me by others.

The point of this post is why is it that 40% of Americans have only a high school education in the 21st century where robots are replacing all repetitive tasks? I personally think the following are a few possible reasons:

  1. Its just too expensive for most to go to college or even trade schools for that matter.
  2. Many teachers don’t instill the desire to learn in their students at an early enough age.
  3. Parents are not doing enough to promote lifelong learning in the home.
  4. Our country is geared more to sports/competition than to education/learning.
  5. Kids in the U.S. have in entitlement mindset.
  6. U.S. education is more about memorizing than learning how to think.
  7. Not enough kids have mentors/examples in their lives.

I don’t have enough space here to expand on these things so I will just say that all of them are in need of improvement. Instead of trying to find the “silver bullet solution we should be tackling each of the multiple underlying causes.  I hope someday that we can manage to put the solution to these things on a high priority that they deserve.