URBAN PERSPECTIVE - The talks around education reform are placing a spotlight on America losing its competitive edge by the lack of human capital and the potential of creating a national security crisis.
Bloomberg Businessweek asked a roundtable of leaders how to take on the crisis facing schools today in “Fix This Education”. Across the board, the leaders from business and education acknowledge that the lack of class room success is diminishing the U.S. economy. However, they point out that reform needs to be swift simple fixes.
Lois V. Gerstener Jr., former chairman and chief executive officer of IBM, claims that we have to do four obvious things to improve education. We need to set high standards, measure performance, train better teachers, and make the school year longer. He further claims that we don’t need to debate it – just execute it.
Interestingly, Margaret Spelling former Education Secretary and CEO of Margaret Spelling & Company reported what business and the economy have been saying the past five years –we are not teaching critical thinking or reasoning. She points out that we have strayed away from some teaching principles such as building a deep knowledge base for students so they can apply that knowledge in new and unfamiliar situations as well problem-solve.
It is becoming more evident that we are not preparing a generation for the future demands of the workforce or the protection of our country. According to the article, American students rank 25th in math and 21st in science compared with students in the 30 industrialized countries.
If we want to move toward a better human capital pool, the investment in education is needed now and in the early stages of educational development. We’ve got to raise the bar of expectation and build on collaborative efforts to prevent an economic catastrophe in the future.
(Janet Denise Kelly offers more than a decade of accomplishments in the housing and nonprofit sector. Janet brings valuable insight in the areas of community and economic development. Additionally, she brings knowledge regarding the leadership and management challenges faced by large and small nonprofits that are struggling or growing organizations. She blogs at jdkellyenterprises.org ) –cw
Tags: education, fix education, Margaret Spelling, Lois Gerstener, Bloomberg Businessweek
Vol 9 Issue 84
Pub: Oct 21, 2011