What is education going to look like in ten years?

Images-1There 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. 


Comments (Archived):

  1. Emily Merkle

    Great post. There are no two ways about it – we need a major overhaul of our primary and secondary programs, both in curriculum and in terms of how teachers are employed, renumerated, and tracked career-wise. It will happen. The unions will fall into place, me thinks.

    1. Gotham Gal

      i hope you are right about the unions but i sorta think you are b/c they will have no other choice

      1. Emily Merkle

        Where can pressure be applied to the unions from outside the system? I have been looking into how to fund a program that involves technology & curriculum changes; I have been thinking about applying private and other nontraditional funding to a public endeavor; such activity can lessen the weight unions wield.

        1. Gotham Gal


  2. Rohan

    Don’t know how the US system works but I have a feeling that education will always be ‘broken’ in the view of people doing ‘stuff’.That’s because the people designing the system have the toughest job in the world – prepare students for a world that will look absurdly different 20 years from now. As an investor, I guess you know what this means.. and I guess even the best investors know that it’s hard to get this right.And then, of course, we ought to take into consideration the fact that academics who design this system are preparing students for a ‘real world’ they have never experienced..I think there’s a difference between education being broken and lack of access to decent education. The second problem we ought to solve.. the first, I’m not so sure..

    1. Gotham Gal

      that is why i believe figuring out to have young people teach for 5 years and then move on makes sense. technology is always changing, the world is always changing and it is the youth that are on top of that at each turn.

      1. Rohan

        That would be really cool. I guess remuneration would be the bottleneck…

        1. Phillip Trotter

          Perhaps, if renumeration was connected say to repayment of college loans or other education costs (or even future career options) it might become attractive. So if you take a loan to be in college – you could have the option of a govt backed loan and preferential loan repayment terms in return for committing to work as a teacher for 3 to 5 years after graduation. Doing it this way you get to address four current problems:(1) getting kids into college – without costs being a barrier – since they can cover at least part of their costs by committing to paying back as a teacher, (2) jobs for new graduates (3) Regular fresh supply of young savvy teachers into term limited positions. (4) a dynamic education platform that can now look at changing teaching processes, tech, learning patterns in 3 to five year cycles.If you limit the number of places on the scheme,make repayment bonuses teaching performance based,and make the terms financially attractive, you can then focus on attracting the brightest into teaching by giving them reasons to commit to it.

          1. Gotham Gal

            Love it

    2. pixiedust8

      I graduated from high school almost 25 years ago. Much of the technology I work with didn’t exist then. My school offered a very rudimentary coding class, but I didn’t take it. I think a strong general education that gives you a good base of knowledge and critical thinking skills (which I think have been lost–look at what’s going on with the current state of politics) is crucial.People who learn how to learn and think will be equipped for anything.

  3. ope_b

    In 10 years, l hope we have different types of publically-financed schools that meet the needs of different types of learners. If you look at parents who can afford/choose private schools, you see they have options. Big vs. small, options in approach to curriculum, education philosophy, discipline philosophy, etc. By contrast, public education is very “one size fits all.” This approach is fine in a lot of wealthier areas, where parents can supplement their kids’ education. It’s terrible for poor urban schools.The union is already getting with the program (perhaps because they have no choice). In many parts of the country, they’re coming around on teacher tenure/evaluations. The UFT union in NYC is even running a charter school (though I dont believe it’s going well so far).Great post!

  4. falicon

    ‘5 and out’ is a really interesting idea…presidents get 4 (with the limited possibility to double down once)…this could make a lot of sense in education as well.I’m in the suburbs…my wife and I both are products of ‘good’ public schools…we partially picked the town we now live in *because* of the public school system…and then we sent our kids to a small private school anyway…so we’re living everything you are talking about first hand right now (and as such we are spending a lot of mental energy on wondering about the future of it all as well).

    1. Gotham Gal

      you are paying taxes for the supposed “good” public schools yet you are sending your kids to private. that shouldn’t have to happen.

      1. falicon

        Agree…though I think of the taxes as just a ‘cost of living’ in a quality town…and we plan to eventually send the kids to the public high school (unless when the time comes there is a reason not to)…so I’m willing enough to seed it for now if the schools maintain their quality level. ;-)We have friends that specifically picked a town with cheaper taxes and lower school ratings…because they were going to send their kids to private school anyway (the amount they saved in taxes was higher than the amount they spent on private school a couple towns away)…but to me the downside was that town as a whole is not as appealing (so all the after-school and weekend things were not really worth participating in, or were very limited as a whole, in their own town as well)

  5. Mike Hart

    Any job for life is the antithesis of progress and change. Private schools change teachers quickly based on performance. It is one of many reasons they are able to produce consistent results.

  6. Marjan Ghara

    Hi there … I left a post a few hours ago but it did not show up? Should I repost it?

  7. William Mougayar

    Yup, I hear that teachers unions are a big stumbling block to progress.

  8. Walker

    I never had a young teacher I liked. They all tried to “relate” and I thought they were awkward, unsure of themselves and unprepared to improvise, think on their feet, handle problems or even inspire. My best teachers were always old and experienced and uncool but knew how to teach and showed a kind of depth that inspired me as to subject matter and life. The odds of a 5 and out program resulting in a better education are low. it will dumb down the overall quality with an inexperienced teaching staff.

  9. Daniel Kirsner

    O, for a world where gov’t had no involvement in education…The cynic in me is usually a better prophet, and foresees increasing gov’t involvement in everything, leading to increased poverty, increasingly bad education, health care, you name it.

  10. panterosa,

    GG, In addition to schools needing to improve, learning toys need to help at home. I have spent the past few years redesigning how the plant and animal kingdom can be taught to kids starting at birth, with the main entry point at 4-5 years old. Hopefully that age is dropping too, due to iPad and tablet games.My app and a sister app will release this fall and I am looking forward to having the conversation with schools regarding use in curriculum.I went to private school and top notch boarding school and I never had a clear teaching on the Tree of Life. My daughter is at the school I went to and 35 years later they are still not teaching what I am designing.I am proud to say that my desire to learn this subject was so strong that it drove me to design the education I didn’t have, and make it so easy you drop the delivery level by at least 6 years. I quit my day job to live on savings to do it, and I am a divorced mother. I wish more people were as annoyed as I am to get out there and change what can be radically and disruptively improved.

    1. Gotham Gal

      good for you!

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