Thinking and Linking by Joanne Jacobs
Business is ignoring the “real revolution in education,” home-schooling, Greg Beato writes in Reason.
In 1983 business complained we needed more scientist, ROTFL. When schools actually polled most American business they said they need an honest, clock puncher. This is the same time ‘In Search of Excellence’ championed the slogan, ‘It doesn’t take a rocket scientist’ and plasters it on every employee’s forehead. ‘The Manufactured Crisis’, is one book that expressed the early ideals of social reform and why education felt they could ignore declining test scores. I don’t think business really wants thinking people. A business needs a controlled, reproducable, unthinking process… parents want healthy, thoughful children. Public education and corporations are pouring millions into online education that could be easily outsourced, and sucks public resource into machines.
Most online education I’ve taken as an adult is anti-learning. A bubble article is followed by a multiple choice question. It disrupts a train of thought, dwells on insignificant detail and is so slow. While I could support using technology to facilitate some basis academic chores, books are much easier to read than a monitor (we need to launch a save the book campaign).
Homeschoolers intensify the experience of a parent. It works for people who are well-educated and have personal resource. Marginalized people fail and ultimately it is a caste system that controls academic resource by families. It’s all been done before, it has some benefits and serious social cost. Historically family secrecy is one reason technology is lost from innovative cultures and replaced with oppressive control.
I think the article is worth reading even though it comes from the point of view of one of those conservatives who’s vaguely uneasy that he shares a political point of view with people who are a trifle too religious.
The review of the relationship between the big granters and home schooling is worth understanding. Home schoolers represent too fragmented, too distibuted and too different a phenomenon from the vast bulk of American public education to be of much interest to the likes of the Ford Foundation.
The article also covers the terrific educational attainments of home schooled kids which is fast becoming a cliche. The author also acknowledges that it’s actually difficult to draw substantive conclusions about home schoolers attainments given the relatively small number/percentage that take the SAT.
Two thumbs up.
I don’t think business really wants thinking people. A business needs a controlled, reproducable, unthinking process…
Er, slightly off-topic, but exactly what business would this be? I work in tax accounting – in many ways, the apotheosis of controlled, reproduceable, unthinking processes – and even here, the last thing we need are more graduates who can plug in numbers but don’t understand what the heck they’re doing or why.
I don’t think corporate reformers are ignoring homeschooling… it’s called distance learning and we’re investing more every day. It’s their attempt to mimic/replace homeschooling. I’ve worked in IT since the 70’s; I’m interested in technology in education and regularly injected with a new re-invention. I don’t see the work that has impressed me most flourish. It doesn’t have broad enough appeal or it’s too expensive to develope. Mostly, the needs of childhood education are complex and we just aren’t there yet. There is a closer alliance with industry and education; I do hope we could do something useful.
I think it’s influence is unhealthy now, because it imposes the changing values that industry dictates on children. It relies on measurements instead of rules. A child needs to learn a consistent, working set of rule before they wander out into the dysfunctional world of cyclical collaspe (I guess the tax industry doesn’t do that).
How long does it take to produce someone who can reliably handle a significant amount of the work, probably a couple years. They say it takes 10 years for us, but I think if you can’t be productive in 2 you shouldn’t be here. You need a few very bright people to recognize and handle what’s difficult, even then, it’s not a rare person. But that’s not the goal of education. Teachers have to work with the very bright, and those who are well below average for whatever reason. Presenting society in a safe, doable structure without the option of selecting a child isn’t something industry is cut out for; it’s not a marketplace.
A business needs a controlled, reproducable, unthinking process…
not any business that will be in place for the long-term apart from entry level service
Bluemount also writes
Presenting society in a safe, doable structure without the option of selecting a child isn’t something industry is cut out for; it’s not a marketplace.
despite proof by assertion, it most assuredly is a marketplace which govern nonprofits and public entities as well as for-profit ones.
it has outcomes: colleges and employeers to name a few
it has customers: families and/or students and/or tazpayers, depending on your framework
it has employees: teachers
it has organizations: public and private some of which used to be monopolies or co-ops
it does have some very slow signalling within the market: replacing failing organizations, movement by customers
and it has a critical element which is sometimes taken as a difference from a market: ensuring solid outcome for all, even when the customer neglects to demands it (or thinks that it can’t be demanded) this can be when the taxpayer framework is best incorporated: one pays steep costs for bad outcomes. Exactly the types of externalities that some suggest should be wrapped into oil or transportation markets for name two.
this can be when the taxpayer framework is best incorporated: one pays steep costs for bad outcomes
That is only one market control. It is a limiting control, and it isn’t what industry does when they want innovation. Although it’s true we do need more controls than we need innovation; eliminating innovations means focusing on risk accessment. Industry is lean and is easy to outsource. The breaking point is when your product is uncompetitive and quickly dives into a death spiral. Is US education competitive or should we aspire to distance learning on a global level? Walmart is moving up!
People are an ecosystem, not a commodity.
I have argued for years that the role of schools has not been to educate or teach students how to think – but to produce drones well suited for the role of worker drone in a business environment.
We send children to school and tell them when and what to do, and how to do it. We do not focus on outcome – but on process. We give defined breaks – often signaled by ringing a bell (two breaks and a lunch – sounds like a factory), and we change the task at hand based on a schedule – not a need of the student to learn or comprehend.
Through all of this – enough students rebel and actually learn to think and form ideas. These students succeed in our society. They fail to follow the “rules” and actually achieve goals they determine to be important.
Having said all this – the nature of business has now changed from a “mass production” environment to an “overall low cost”. The resources (ideas and abilities of the worker) in this environment are different. It requires employees who can, in addition to providing labor, provide insight and ideas. Not typically what you think our public schools are good at developing in the students.
Are students from home schools achieving this skill set?
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