The release of Waiting for Superman along with Mark Zuckerberg’s $100Million pledge to the Newark School System have sparked a significant increase in education awareness in this country. Study after study are showing declining performance by our kids in reading, math, and science, and unless we make serious corrections soon the economic impact could reach trillions of dollars. I have heard the opinions of teachers, union leaders, administrators, governmental officials, and parents. Fingers are pointed, money is spent, and nothing changes because root cause is not addressed on a national scale. I am neither a teacher nor an administrator, but I spent many years as a student. The problem is behavioral. Our kids don’t know how to learn and lack the discipline to commit to learning how to learn. 20th century methods based on text books, memorization, lectures, and homework will not work today in the world of sensory overload and distractions. It’s not the what, it’s the how. The ability to deduce, analyze, and assess problems in growing complexity is at the core along with articulation. On the flip side, I think we need to study how the new global leaders in K-12 education teach. This includes identifying educators who have developed a DESIRE to learn in their students, copying these teaching behaviors like a high speed printing press and rewarding the snot out of those that get it right.
Like I said, I am not a teacher, but it is my experience solving big complex problems requires behavioral changes.