Monday, December 7, 2009
The Factory Assembly Line That Is Your Education
I believe the problem with education is not the system but the current approach. We currently have a system that approaches teaching and learning the same way a factory or industry approaches product production - let’s put the fewest resources needed in order to get the maximum amount of product out. The same way cars are manufactured on an assembly line students are pushed through the education system in a uniform step by step manner with little attention to detail or concern about specific differences. Students are treated as if they are all the same just as the car parts on a assembly line and although this system may work well for a few it doesn’t work for all. Those who are different and need more attention in specific areas are left out of the equation and are allowed to fall through the cracks. They are assembled as you will incompletely or with all the wrong parts, parts that works well for others but not for them, parts that have now become the new standard. If the student does not succeed he or she is made to believe it is their fault, made to believe that it is their lack of skill or ability when in reality it is the system itself, the assembly line that is not designed to meet their personal needs, an assembly lines whose attempt to be uniform results in the lost of anything that does not fit the standard, not matter how skilled or talented that anything might actually be.
Another major problem with the assembly line approach is that it cut cost at every possible corner and when it comes to education the goal should not be to cut coast but to increase quality. The problem is that higher quality is often correlated with higher coats and if cutting coast is all you are concerned about then you can grantee there will be great losses in quality, but you won’t care because in your mind you will have the cheapest product money can buy and where you loss out in quality you can make up in quantity. This thinking is wrong and although it may work great for a factory setting it can be very detrimental to education. The best example of this would be when it comes funding for extracurricular activities, after school programming, the arts, vocational studies, and even physical education. These programs are not seen as important or necessary to a “standard education” and are easily cut to save on coast. While one can easily make the arrangement that these are important and are not only inductive but vital to a high quality education, if quality is not the goal then it is clear to see how and why these programs would be the first to go. In addition to this those students who especially take refuge in these areas or even excel at them now become left without the area or areas that best suits them and are forced to accommodate to the new much cheaper standard.
In a sense the assembly line approach is doing itself a huge injustice because every student is not the same and treating them as if they are is not doing anyone any real good. The students loss out in that not all of them may succeed even ones who do have talent and the system losses out in that there will be less highly talented and skilled students turned further workers to continue the cycle and replace those currently in charge of running the system. In reality the system does not benefit from a constant swam of standard students but from the occasional above standard students, those who excel way beyond the standard and create the new innovations that keep this country going, the new ideas, the new policies, the new technologies that keep this country on the cutting edge. The assembly line approach is not inductive to these students and does not activity seek them out but instead just pushes them through the line with the hopes that they will somehow retain their skill and find their own ways to practice and use those skills. Yes there are always a few select students that do rise above in despite of all the problems in the education system and accomplish great things, a few even become the further leaders of these country, but why have it this why when there is so much more potential out there that is being overlooked and going untapped.
I strongly believe that In order to successfully tackle many of the problems we and facing in this country, problem like globe climate change, peak oil production, and the loss of biodiversity, we are going to need all the talent and skill we can get and that starts we making serve changes to our education system. We can no longer afford providing our children with a very cheap very standard education anymore. We have to put the focus back on quality and not quantity, even if that does mean we have to spend more money, because in the end the money is only really going back to ourselves in the form of the bright new minds of tomorrow who will have the challenge of solving those many problems that we ourselves have getting ourselves into. Why not equip them with the best education possible.
Like Albert Einstein said - You can't solve a problem with the same thinking that created it
Thus we cannot expect our children to solve the problems of tomorrow with the same education that we were given, an education from a much older time, a time where these problems did not even exist. Because if we do then our children are Destined to fail just as we are currently failing now.