We need more engineers, scientists and technically skilled people. If that’s not obvious, please quit reading. Seth Godin’s got a good analysis of what’s wrong with education. Some excerpts – and a sickening history of the multiple choice test… The were invented in WWI’s shadow to allow faster processing of results by teachers, so they could graduate faster…the creator of the test said “In the words of Professor Kelly, “This is a test of lower order thinking for the lower orders.” Multiple choice is everywhere now. Some more cuts from Seth Godin’s paper (link below).
“Large-scale education was not developed to motivate kids or to create scholars. It was invented to churn out adults who worked well within the system. Scale was more important than quality, just as it was for most industrialists.”
“Nobel prize–winning economist Michael Spence makes this really clear: there are tradable jobs (doing things that could be done somewhere else, like building cars, designing chairs, and answering the phone) and non-tradable jobs (like mowing the lawn or cooking burgers). Is there any question that the first kind of job is worth keeping in our economy? Alas, Spence reports that from 1990 to 2008, the U.S. economy added only 600,000 tradable jobs”
Even though just about everyone in the West has been through years of compulsory schooling, we see ever more belief in unfounded theories, bad financial decisions, and poor community and family planning. People’s connection with science and the arts is tenuous at best, and the financial acumen of the typical consumer is pitiful. If the goal was to raise the standards for rational thought, skeptical investigation, and useful decision making, we’ve failed for most of our citizens.”
“The common school (now called a public school) was a brand new concept, created shortly after the Civil War. “Common” because it was for everyone, for the kids of the farmer, the kids of the potter, and the kids of the local shopkeeper. Horace Mann is generally regarded as the father of the institution, but he didn’t have to fight nearly as hard as you would imagine—because industrialists were on his side. The two biggest challenges of a newly industrial economy were finding enough compliant workers and finding enough eager customers. The common school solved both problems.
“The normal school (now called a teacher’s college) was developed to indoctrinate teachers into the system of the common school, ensuring that there would be a coherent approach to the processing of students. If this sounds parallel to the notion of factories producing items in bulk, of interchangeable parts, of the notion of measurement and quality, it’s not an accident.”
Hope: http://techcrunch.com/2012/04/28/they-aint-making-any-more-of-them-the-great-engineering-shortage-of-2012/ lists some of the technology schools cropping up online to address this need and fill good jobs for people joining the “rise of self-directed learning services and websites such as Codecademy,CodeLesson, General Assembly, Dev Bootcamp, Treehouse and Udemy (Disclosure: I’m an advisor to Udemy) make the lower numbers of college graduates with computer science degrees less disconcerting.”