Posts Tagged ‘Economic Issues’

The NYTimes Thomas Friedman Offers a Bold Vision for the Future of Education… But Neither Political Party is On Board

October 21, 2020 Leave a comment

In his op ed column “After the Pandemic, a Revolution in Education and Work Awaits”, Thomas Friedman describes his and Ravi Kumar’s vision for the future of the workplace and education… and it is nothing like what we have in place today. Instead of valuing the accumulation of static information, Mr. Friedman’s future schools will inculcate a joy for learning. Instead of preparing students for a specific strand of work, they will prepare students who are flexible and who can change quickly.

I was heartened to see Mr. Friedman advocating a shift to experiential learning, but I don’t see either political party advocating the kinds of structural changes to schools that are needed to make this kind of change a reality. The GOP wants to gut funding for “government schools” and the Democrats want to provide more robust funding for the paradigm we have in place— the paradigm that Mr. Kumar righty sees as outmoded. If our country is to move in the direction Mr. Friedman and Mr. Kumar describe we need to stop measuring K-12 schooling based on standardized tests that compel teachers to focus on a narrow curriculum and stop measuring post-secondary schools based on ROI. We need to use technology to restore the joy for learning described in A.S. Neill’s Summerhill and to create the links to mentors described in Ivan Illich’s Deschooling Society. Instead we are using technology to replicate traditional instruction on platforms like Zoom, to gather meaningless test data, and, most chillingly, to monitor students 24/7.

I tend to disagree with many of Mr. Friedman’s methods for implementing changes. He ascribes to the neoliberal notion that the global marketplace will ultimately sort out the best way forward while I believe enlightened leadership in the government is often needed to set a direction and tone and put safeguards in place. But I do share his optimism that we will eventually muddle our way forward… and I DO see the possibility for the kind of positive outcomes both he and Mr. Kumar envision for the future.

The Endgame Has Arrived: USDOE Data Harvested to Rate College’s ROI

October 17, 2020 Leave a comment

The day neoliberals and conservatives have been waiting for has arrived: we now have the data collected to make it possible to rank colleges based on their Return on Investment. This will prove some facts we already know: namely that any trade school preparing electricians and plumbers is better than any college or university that prepares its graduates for teaching and social work. If the only reason for seeking knowledge is to earn money it is no surprise that selfishness is more prevalent than service.

Vox Analysis of COVID-19: We Don’t Know Much

October 17, 2020 Leave a comment

The Vox article below offers lots of information but draws no clear conclusions about how schools and colleges might deal with the ongoing and seemingly endless pandemic. After reading this very comprehensive analysis I drew one conclusion: we know less now than we could have if we had a unified NATIONAL approach to collecting data and reopening. Eight months into this outbreak we have no uniform means of data collection, no uniform policy on defining what constitutes an acceptable risk level, and no clear path to making a rational and informed decision on how to reopen schools. It didn’t have to be this way. We could have heard from the outset that we need to listen to the scientists who know about the disease and heed their advice… but politics and the stock market were used to make decisions instead…. and it’s unclear whether or when we will have the data we need to make the life or death decisions we face.