Saturday, November 19, 2011

Guest post - Education

Part 2 in a series of guest posts from contributor Jerry Gettinger...

Education budgets are easiest to reduce. It is only the courageous and forward-looking governments that will use schooling to turn around this situation and offer their constituents a new path to success. If this is not done soon, there will develop a permanent unemployable class that will foster social upheaval. There is not much time left to induce positive change. It still can be done, but only with a government that sees education as a desirous utility, much like a $300 million football stadium.

Unfortunately, in some communities, education is a burdensome necessity or a social institution useful as an ideological tool that inculcates our children in religiously acceptable behavior. What is needed and needed immediately is a national goal that remakes the U.S. into a High Tech country with communities teaching the most sophisticated protocols to give students the intellectual means of, not just competing, but surpassing the rest of the world in innovation and production.

If there is one then there are hundreds, if not thousands of Stephen Jobs in our country. Those students will only evolve into highly productive individuals in a school system that encourages individual thought and critical thinking. Ours does not, and in fact, discourages such thought.

Teachers and parents feel threatened and intimidated by schools that allow students to consider all perspectives and question each one. This effort can become a part of the need to become energy independent. That coupled with changing the U.S. into a "green" nation can justify the metamorphosis. However, do not make the mistake of approaching the problem as needing justification. Educating our young to achieve the same goals in our country that were achieved during the last century is a necessity.

The love-hate relationship we have with our public schools must be turned into an attitude that values an education. Schools must receive whatever is needed to become an institution that encourages independent thinking. I suggest that the reader study the case of Intel and what saved the company from becoming a 2nd rate manufacturer of computer chips The Company had developed the computer chip to the point where when it ran faster it would over-heat and literally catch fire. The research facility in Israel came up with the idea of using a dual system instead trying to add speed with one.

It solved the problem. The suggestion came from a research assistant. The fact that the assistant promoted the idea and his supervisor was receptive resulted from their service in the Israeli army. As such, a private might be a high up officer at Intel and vice-versa. As a result, everyone had the freedom to try ideas and do critical thinking. An employee would be encouraged to present his idea to his supervisor.

We need that freedom in our schools and companies. The freedom to fail as well as succeed.

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