What is education going to look like in ten years?
There is no question that public education needs to change. Each community is different, each county is different, each state is different, each kid is different and everyone should have the opportunity to get a good education in our public school system.
I grew up in the public school system in the suburbs of Maryland. Never thought that I wasn't getting a good education. I was lucky that the suburb I grew up in had some of the top schools in the state and perhaps the country because our taxes could afford to pay the teachers well. Not so much in other areas of the state as I have come to learn how public education works.
Our kids grew up in NYC and went to private school although there are certainly some excellent public schools in NYC we chose to take the private route. I see people that we know in different areas through out the country who send their kids to private school because they can and feel that is the only option. In many ways the demise of the public education system is pushing families of means to opt for private school even in the suburbs of the country. That is not good.
The other night I met a woman who ended up teaching science in the private school system although she really wanted to teach in the public school. There were no options available in the public school for her. What happened to her happens to many young teachers. They work in the school system for about four years and around the time they turn 27/28 they opt out. Why? She said the same thing that I have heard from others that have opted out. After a few years of teaching, as much as they enjoy the process and interaction with the kids and believe they are making a change they wonder how they can continue doing the same job over and over for the next twenty years. Makes you wonder about the union and the teachers who have been given tenure without having to innovative or be creative after locking up their job for life.
The system and the unions need to change. Does it make sense that the oldest teacher in the room always gets priority just for being around the longest. I actually like the concept of having teachers come in for a 5 year stint, making change, being connected to the world at large as they are young and thinking out of the box and can connect better with the kids. Those teachers could easily create curriculum that makes sense for the community they are working in. Then once 5 years are up they can opt in or opt out. If they opt out how do we help those teachers enter the working world? I don't know the answer but certainly the ability for them to teach and be creative in a virtual world might give them another option. Yet I do believe that the unions ways of the past make no sense to disrupt a stuck in the mud system to move forward. When we have access to technology every second of the day to believe that standing in the front of the class room with a black board make sense is insane.
What will education look like in ten years? There is a place for charter schools, there is a place for innovative public schools and there is a place for more artistic progressive schools. Each kid thinks different and has a different set of skills that they can hone. One thing I do believe is that physical education, arts and home economics needs to return to the system. How? Not sure of that either but I believe we are just starting to see the disruption of education from a brand new set of thinkers who are using the web as their platform. The next ten years in education will be very interesting and my gut is the union will eventually have no choice but to get with a new program.