According to professor and lecturer Sir Ken Robinson, we are “trying to meet the future by doing what (we) did in the past.” When said out loud, it seems ludicrous that we would do such a thing. After all, the definition of insanity is to routinely “do the same thing and expect different results.” Our current public education system is based on the industrial model, developed during the industrial revolution to educate the poor so they would easily assimilate into factory environments. Since most of our manufacturing jobs have been moved overseas, this model of education has become irrelevant. If our country has any hopes of moving forward within the new global system, we need to encourage creative thinking and innovation – the very opposite of what our current educational environment of standardized testing creates. What is the answer?
Ohio’s Governor John Kasich, seems to think that merit pay for educators is the answer. But, according to a study done by Harvard University economist Roland G. Fryer, there is “no evidence that teacher incentives increase student performance, attendance, or graduation.” In fact, Fryer reported that this may actually decrease student achievement! http://www.economics.harvard.edu/faculty/fryer/files/teacher%2Bincentives.pdf.
As noted by author Walt Gardner, England attempted the merit pay system for teachers, and it failed miserably (http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2011/mar/27/schools-teaching), further proof that this simply won’t work. Even worse, it took England nearly 40 years to correct the problems that merit pay created, and we don’t have that kind of time here in the U.S given current economic stresses. So then we must ask, is Kasich insane, stupid, or is it something, perhaps, more sinister?
Who would benefit most from a dysfunctional education system? Let’s follow a line of reasoning to answer that question. First, a dysfunctional educational system will create a less educated population, which has already been happening for quite some time (see Weapons of Mass Instruction by Gatto for statistics.) A “dumbed down” population asks less questions, are more likely to believe whatever they are told by authority figures without facts to back it up, and comply readily. I’ll let you fill in the blanks, that is, if you haven’t already become sheeple, unable to think critically for yourselves.
Regardless, we in Ohio and the entire U.S. are in the midst of crisis – an economic crisis as well as an educational crisis. If we teach our children to think creatively, rather than taking the creativity out of them as Sir Ken suggests, the potential will be unlimited! So Listen up, Kasich! Here is a lecture you need to see: