Education Reform: One Classroom… or One Student at a Time?
Posted by Gary Thompson in Education | 0 Comment
We are fortunate in our robust free enterprise system to have founders of companies, like Microsoft, willing to invest their accumulated wealth back into society, nationally and globally. The work of Bill and Melinda Gates, through the foundation, is to be commended.
In addition to her role as Co-Chair of the Gates Foundation, Melinda Gates serves in a variety of roles, including as a Director of the Washington Post. This past week she wrote an OpEd in that same publication, "Education Reform, one Classroom at a Time" about the $4.35 billion in stimulus funds for education, known as Race to the Top. There is no doubt that audacious reforms are necessary, but if it simply required another $4.35 billion to solve our education problems, then our schools would have been fixed decades ago. According to data from the US Department of Education, the United States spends more per capita per student than all but two OECD countries in the world, Switzerland and Norway.
Although I would agree that effective teachers are a vital part of the equation, it is difficult to look at any part of our education system in isolation. Teachers, administrators, school facilities, classrooms and students are all a part of a much larger system, and as a result, we must look at education systemically to unlock the power of both teachers and students.
As discussed in "Beyond Schools: A New Foundation for Schools in the 21st Century:"
Education is at a crossroads as our global economy and society undergo significant change. By shifting our thinking from institutions to individuals, the United States can be a true innovator as we go beyond schools and create a new foundation for education in the 21st Century. As the world flattens, so too must education. Linking this flattened system will allow the United States to build a true talent pipeline that leverages our education assets in new ways and strengthens our future workforce and economic development.
To reinvent education, we must start from the inside and out, and architect solutions from the student/individual out, empowering and linking all of the vital assets for their success, from teachers to content to assessment. CLOUD is focused on building a language that empowers this new ecosystem, reweaving education for the future.
So, it is not just effective teachers but effective students with effective data that will make all the difference. $4.35 billion is a great start, but as the OECD numbers show it is not just about the amount of money but instead about how and where it is spent.