The History and Future of Public Education in the US

The concept of history repeating itself is an interesting notion when considering what the future may hold for public education. Right now, in the United States, I would say that Public Education is in quite a precarious position. Let’s take a look at our past to see if we can predict what might be in store for the future of public education. Public education, as we know it, was created by the Committee of 10 during the industrial revolution. This committee used three major organizational systems of its time to help create public education: the factory, the church, and the prison system. The committee took from the factory the orderly rows, 40 minute schedule with breaks, identical outcomes and an assembly line mentality with no need for creativity or “outside the box” thinking. The jail brought us punishment with no thought of learning through consequence, top down, heavy handed management with order and conformity. The church gave us our teaching style- the lecture. The church also gave us the concept of “sit quietly and listen and I will tell you everything you need to know”. It taught us that there is only one person that holds all the knowledge and Read More …

Public Education Must Evolve or Become Extinct

I recently presented to a group in Virginia about the need for educators to look at relevance in their teachings and subjects. We can do away with handwriting and spelling. We can save time by eradicating the pointless subjects and archaic skills and replace them with skills we know our students will need in their future. There was one participant that got upset with me. She was upset by my comparison of no longer needing a horse and buggy or needing the skill of reading and writing in hieroglyphics to the need to still use handwriting or learning to spell. There are just some things of which we can let go. At first I felt badly about this participant being upset. But then I realized that more people should get upset, but not at the reality that things need to change. Get upset with the people who are unwilling to adapt and change for the betterment of their students. I had a teacher the other day tell me that he still lectures and has traditional homework assignments “because that’s the way I teach”. Never once did he say anything about the way his students learn. Never entered his mind! Education Read More …