The talk below demonstrates another way to think about the failing American education system. Sir Ken Robinson gives an articulate presentation regarding the futility of one-size-fits-all education programs. I especially like his comparison of No Child Left Behind with much more successful European approaches. We send our kids into buildings for 6.5 hours/day for 180 days/year (1,080 hours, assuming a 30 minute recess) to spend the vast majority of their time doing “low grade clerical work” and then wonder why they cannot compete on an international level. In the process we sacrifice their love of learning and remove professional judgement from those who are charged with their learning
By the time I encounter the students in college, most of their joy and curiosity has vanished; instead they ask me for clear directives on the “low grade clerical assignments” and disdain any chance at experiential learning because it is not “clear and direct.” Our college students are years behind their foreign counterparts who are also in my classes. Worse yet the American students have the view that education is the drudgery they must endure in order to obtain certifications that make their lives better whilst my foreign students know that education can transform their lives by teaching them to see opportunities and projects as a chance to experiment with innovation. It is not hard to figure out who the innovators of the future will be and to discern that Americans are at the bottom of the pile.
If you are a parent or care for a school-aged child, I encourage you to watch this video.