S.O.S.: Save our schools now and for the future
America’s schools are failing and so are schools across the world. It is not hard at all to find accurate critiques of various portions or the whole current education apparatus and it’s ineptitude in providing the sufficient and relevant preparation to its students. Education, at it’s most core goal, is an extremely difficult task. To educate students for an uncertain future that cannot be seen or reliably predicted. But that can be overcome when you design education from a different perspective and actually solve the problems in education. In the model used by my company Urban Mind, education provides core skills and experiences that develop adaptable, self-sufficient, helpful graduates ready to contribute and take on 21st century challenges. However, the current state of education seems to be missing the big picture view of its purpose, and how that’s being met in the context of the world today. Education leaders, policymakers, and even education entrepreneurs are solving the wrong problems and dragging education further and further into despair. We’re missing the big picture view of education, its purpose, and meeting that purpose in the context of the world today.
What does all of this vague talk mean? Let’s start with the purpose of school. The intention of school is to educate its students to have a common societal understanding, intellectual groundwork, and exposure that will allow them access to life sustaining employment or other economic opportunities.
Schools must match their education to the social and economic present and future. Part of education is speculation because schools are preparing students for the future, a future that has not been written. With the astonishing rate at which technology has been transforming our society and economy, education must follow suit and transform quickly and constantly. While it is a difficult task to prepare students for an uncertain future that is constantly changing, there are ways to cover your unknown or unpredictable bases. Students must develop foundational education skills that provide a flexible framework to meet the unpredictability of societal and economic necessities.
With Urban Mind, education provides core skills and experiences that create adaptable, self-sufficient, helpful graduates to make this speculation and transformation easier. This means students learn how to learn, how to use their learning to create or act, and how to teach others. These three goals, to develop graduates that can learn, create, and teach, will allow them to adapt and learn what is necessary, use it, and propagate it to others. This framework will work today, tomorrow, and forever, for whatever the transformations that society and the economy have in store for us, no matter how quickly they may change. These are the immutable needs that will be required of anyone in a rapidly changing world. On top of that Urban Mind provides the thinking skills, the environment, autonomy, and mastery necessary for students to flexibly learn according to their needs, interests, and future development. Students learn in the best format and speed for them. They learn what interests them as long as it meets the skill and mastery standards set to ensure complete learning and practice. Student learning matches the needs of the society and economy they live in and will encounter as they get older and they have various products to display their areas of mastery.
The Urban Mind example is one out of many other possible solutions to solving the underlying deficiencies of education that are many times overlooked or sidestepped. It may be extremely daunting to many that are in the education “reform” industry, but there needs to be a big picture reassessment of education, its core goals, and a complete overhaul of the education system. Education must meet those goals in the best way for the ultimate customers of education, the students. Because of our skittish nature with regard to the future of students and our well-intentioned belief that we know what is always best for students, we forget about the genius and potential locked within every child. Students understand themselves and we can support them to develop their own individual model of success, because of course, they’re the ones that have to live with the education in the end. And the future of students is very unstable because of the society and economy that they have or will inherit. Shouldn’t we give them the foundation to succeed immensely in their world, not something that mildly worked in yours?
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About the Author
Maxime Paul – Entrepreneur, autodidact, and creative problem-solver designing and implementing solutions for the marginalized’s problems today and tomorrow. Living in DC, but from all over because of the military. Building skills (as I will continue to do forever) to create sustainable solutions to empower underserved communities. I can do a lot, and if not I can probably learn how to do it.