Friday, October 23, 2009

Friedman on the link between education and the American Depression

I just read a piece by Thomas Friedman called "The New Untouchables" where he links the weakness of the American education system to the Depression they are currently experiencing. (For the Americans it is a capital D Depression, it seems.)

Friedman says:
Just being an average accountant, lawyer, contractor or assembly-line worker is not the ticket it used to be. As Daniel Pink, the author of “A Whole New Mind,” puts it: In a world in which more and more average work can be done by a computer, robot or talented foreigner faster, cheaper “and just as well,” vanilla doesn’t cut it anymore. It’s all about what chocolate sauce, whipped cream and cherry you can put on top. So our schools have a doubly hard task now — not just improving reading, writing and arithmetic but entrepreneurship, innovation and creativity.

This is why our schools have to keep trying to improve. Even though the media and a lot of the public scream when the schools and boards try and adopt more modern methods of assessment and evaluation, we (teachers and other educators) have to keep trying to make good changes, even if the changes seem too "newfangled" to the casual observer. Going back to the "tried and true" methods of education is not going to work because we live in a different world now.

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