Q Los Angeles 2013
Arts + Entertainment
Science + Tech
The Future of Education
A century-old debate continues to rage on in America about how best to educate our children. Some insist privatization is the solution while others fight for the neighborhood school to be reinvigorated—offering equal earning opportunities and no child left behind. But is America forever to lose ground to emerging giants like China and India who only need to educate a fraction of their population well to flood the world with the next generation of innovation, creativity and promise? How could American education, like American culture, become dominant in the global world again? Is it possible?
I applaud your work! Bringing the elements of educational restoration and renewal into a Gospel frame is the most empowering idea there is!
I'm a teacher in higher ed, and in dealing with the decided lack of preparation suffered by so many of my students, I've been guided to develop some of the embeddedness and longitudalness that you describe. For example, do I really want students to be able to recite the name of August Comte? Or is it really about understanding what the Enlightenment means to their lives today? And then maybe if they become able to think about that, they will remember August Comte. But without that important frame for understanding today's struggles with science and spirit, why bother to be able to choose a name on a multiple-guess test & then forget about it (as I did in college)?
If technology and information alone could heal the open sores of the educational "systems" we in America are recreating every day, then I expect that there is enough free or low-cost online curriculum (MIT's curricula are free online) to do the job. Students come into my classrooms not knowing or caring what knowledge is out there for them. They basically want a good job and would even take my class if that would help them get one. They learn through interaction with me and with others in the class HOW to learn, and what kinds of choices are out there.
My question is--How does your vision of turn around provide for teaching about & thinking about values? What I observe about young people in school is that the bottom line is more about values than money. Really. We can put a lot of technology in place, but the guts of an educational system is the conversation in the classroom.
My students are largely low income, less prepared. They live in a world where what has happened to them AFTER school has become more important than what takes place IN school. Gangs, drugs, pimp culture, materialism, violence, hate... you name it. The ones who succeed are the ones who find their way through all that, and the WAY is LOVE, and our hearts, by grace, know where THAT comes from. We need armies of after school volunteers, people who teach values, deal with bullies, violence, pimp culture, offer tangible, usable alternatives. We may need high tech, but I think more we need WAY high touch! The cost in dollars is much less than technology, but it involves getting people to step in, volunteer their time, work and fight to get our schools and neighborhoods back. It takes REAL caring. I know that the faith community, and most easily and with great leadership the Christian community, can and SHOULD take this on!
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