News Herald – Juliann Talkington
It’s technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities, that yields the results that make our hearts sing. – Steve Jobs, founder of Apple
Steve Jobs made highly technical machines user-friendly and beautiful by blending mathematics, science, and art. More importantly, he started a wave of innovation that made products that were once only accessible to scientists and engineers readily available to the general public.
During this period of innovation, the education sector was stuck in a time warp. Most primary and secondary students today are educated in about the same way that they were in the 1980s.
Counselors continue to place students into STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math), humanities, and trade tracks rather than encourage a broad education. Teaching credentials are still more important than an amazing understanding of the subject and schools are still accredited by personnel from other schools rather than by the market. Also, the majority of U.S. students attend schools run by the government.
Regulations and peer review accreditations may have been necessary in the middle of the 20th Century. However, the same regulations and accrediting bodies that protected our kids then are forcing schools to operate in ways that are inconsistent with 21st Century realities. In short, this means kids are wasting years of their lives on things that no longer matter.
For education to keep pace with the times, there must be a complete paradigm shift. Instead of regulating and delaying change, we need to encourage the education sector to innovate.
To make sure new ideas make it into the education system we need to encourage more private schooling options. Then we need to urge these schools to try radical concepts and provide concrete information on what students are learning. Finally, we need to make sure all students have access to these innovative schools.
The easiest way to make all this happen is to issue education vouchers that can be used at any school and require schools to publish third party test results each year.
With this type of competition, all schools should become better. When the schools become better, our kids will be better prepared. When our kids are better prepared, the country will be more vibrant. When the country is more vibrant, the economy will be better. When the economy is stronger, everyone will be better off.
It is time to get rid of the bureaucracy and allow our schools to innovate so our kids’ hearts can sing.
NPR Ed – Anya Kamenetz
“”Why are traffic lights red, yellow and green?” When a child asks you a question like this, you have a few options. You can shut her down with a “Just because.” You can explain: “Red is for stop and green is for go.” Or, you can turn the question back to her and help her figure out the answer with plenty of encouragement. No parent, teacher or caregiver has the time or patience to respond perfectly to all of the many, many, many opportunities like these that come along. But a new book, Becoming Brilliant: What Science Tells Us About Raising Successful Children, is designed to get us thinking about the magnitude of these moments. Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, the book’s co-author, compares the challenge to climate change. “What we do with little kids today will matter in 20 years,” she says. “If you don’t get it right, you will have an unlivable environment. That’s the crisis I see.””(more)
Utah Business – Lisa Christensen
“Sandy—What do a shark, an ant, a gecko and a firefly have in common? They all have unique traits that scientists and engineers are taking inspiration from to develop the technologies of the future. “Innovation inspired by nature can improve existing [inventions], but it can also inspire new ones,” said Sam Stier, founding director of the Center for Learning with Nature. Speaking as the keynote address at the STEM Best Practices Conference Tuesday to a crowd of educators, administrators and business leaders, Stier said in addition to inspiring people working in STEM fields, nature can stoke the imaginations of budding scientists, engineers, architects and computer programmers in the classroom.”(more)
Deseret News – Megan McNulty
“You may not know it, but we are nearing the end of National Week of Making, designated by the White House as a time to celebrate innovations in science, technology, engineering, art, math and individuals who contributed to the Maker Movement. According to U.S. News, the term “making” refers to creative elements such as metalworking, woodworking, drawing and digital fabrication. “Making” can play a vital role in ensuring a relevant and engaging learning experience for children as well as challenging them to solve real-world problems…President Barack Obama kicked off the week, from June 17-23, with the National Maker Faire at the White House this past weekend…”We celebrate the tinkerers and dreamers whose talent and drive have brought new ideas to life, and we recommit to cultivating the next generation of problem solvers,” U.S. News reported Obama saying this week.”(more)
The Huffington Post – Sarah Palferman
“In a recent article in the Times Education Supplement Sir Peter Bazalgette, the Chairman of Arts Council England, argues that a rich cultural education is the right of all children, bestowing benefits educationally, economically and socially. That this is undoubtedly true becomes self-evident when we consider how diminished our lives would be without just one facet of human experience that is nurtured through engaging children with the arts: imagination…Imagination is a key component of creative thinking and innovation, attributes that are significantly correlated with professional success and, as any casual perusal of the classifieds will reveal, are highly sought after, highly valued, and attract appropriate remuneration…Through the rich cultural education that all children deserve we can foster the development of imaginative capabilities that will excite them about the process of learning and help them to achieve their full academic potentials. We can enhance their social skills, imbue them with a mechanism for coping with adversity, and allow them to engage fully in both arts and sciences that will inspire and enrich their lives.”(more)
Change the Equation – Staff Writer
“As the nation kicks off Engineers Week, organizations across the country are celebrating the engineers who have made the world a safer, healthier, more prosperous, and more humane place to live. That is as it should be. It is just as important, however, to acknowledge how the nation is squandering talent that could engineer solutions to our most daunting global challenges. Much of our nation’s talent is hidden in plain sight: people of color who lack the opportunities to join the ranks of the nation’s leading innovators.”(more)