TED Conversations

Mike Colera


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What will it take to recreate an educated American.

In fairness, I have to say that I have been critical of the education system in the US since my own sons went to school and I attended schools conferences and PTA meetings.
My conclusions:
Universities have found an unending source of funding accepting students with government loans that are estimated in the trillion dollar range. The number of dropouts from baccalaureate programs is outrageous, universities aren't concerned as they use the funds to build resorts, endowments, while uneducated college dropouts are stuck with loans for most of their lifetimes.

K-12 is even a greater failure in education. Many have touted pre-school programs to give children a headstart in schools. The Feds have reported the best heard start gain is lost by 4th Grade in mediorce elementary schools. Numbers vary but nearly 25% of children entering schools never graduate. A too large pecentage graduate functionally illerate. Yet bloated public school bureacracies demand more and more funds to educated our children. They acknowledge their failures and tell us money is the resolution. However, in my lifetime, the US has fallen from one of the best educated in the world to a level falling behind a number of "supposedly third world" nations, with expenditures exceeding most of the world's nations gross national product.

So, what have we got for all this money and so many uneducated young Americans. Huge bureacracies where non educational personnel make up nearly half of the staff, facilities that rival world resorts, after school athletic programs that rival professional leagues, text books riddled with current political correctness whatever that is, and my favorite, participating students are taught the mandatory state tests that are fixed to funding requests. All of this education tragedy is well supported by extremely powerful political interests.

So, solutions: I have none.

What will it take to educate America?

Topics: education

Closing Statement from Mike Colera

Most of the points of my initial conversation on the problems in Education were not addressed. Yes there are some schools doing an excellent job creating functional young adults that will do well in their lives. But too many young adults are not well educated and I am not addressing college, I am address daily life situations. We need to do so much more to resolve these problems and that is my problem.

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    Jul 9 2013: You are all over thinking it. They need to be kids. Children need to be left to develop at their own pace. They need to be taught as children until itnis time they need to be taught as adults. They need to p, ay with other kids, they do not need tecnology from the minute theynare born and need to develop as they were meant to.

    Stop over thinking and let them become.
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      Jul 9 2013: It's not about the kids, it's about how we've failed to provide them an opportunity for a quality education.. The opportunity for them to be all that they can be.
      What we have are huge bureaucracies we invested with that task only to find that they have become self serving and self indulgent and abandoned the ability to teach.
    • Jul 9 2013: "They need to be kids...They need to pl ay with other kids,..." Absolutely! And this, too, is part of education; it's learning how to operate with other people. Many of the activities that used to be common in school, such as field trips, were as much a playful thing as an information gathering thing. My first grade class made jam for Mother's Day; we had great fun and learned a lot...starting with basic chemistry. (Also, steam = hot.) That basic chemistry produced a real thing that we could take home. It made a connection between 'school stuff' and the 'real world'.
    • Jul 9 2013: You might find the Sudbury Valley School to be interesting.

      • Jul 10 2013: Indeed! They do look interesting. I think our public schools could achieve something in that direction, but it would take resources (those books have to be available,) and a community that values the school enough to regard letting employees take a half day off to go visit the school and speak to classes (without punishing them financially or in evaluations,) as something of value. Similarly, a community which allows its schoolchildren an opportunity to come in and see the workings of a city council meeting, or a water treatment plant, or tour the area's largest employer would greatly connect the students and the schoool to the community. I'd also note that providing the tax base to support the schools so they can re-start PE and arts programs, which many have lost, would also be a good step in that direction.

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