Friday, April 29, 2005

School's Out Forever?

This is a chilling quote from Bill Gates, and it's not because of who said it, but because it rings true. It's a systemic kind of problem that is always difficult to fix. There are a lot of schools and, more difficult yet, entrenched paradigms. And lo and behold, full-time Muslim schools are not doing better. I suspect they do worse in many ways.

Back to the point, here is what Bill says:

"American high schools are obsolete. By obsolete, I don't just mean that our high schools are broken, flawed and underfunded. ... By obsolete, I mean that our high schools - even when they are working exactly as designed - cannot teach our kids what they need to know today. Training the work force of tomorrow with the high schools of today is like trying to teach kids about today's computers on a 50-year-old mainframe. ... Our high schools were designed 50 years ago to meet the needs of another age. Until we design them to meet the needs of the 21st century, we will keep limiting - even ruining - the lives of millions of Americans every year.... oday, only one-third of our students graduate from high school ready for college, work, and citizenship. The other two-thirds, most of them low-income and minority students, are tracked into courses that won’t ever get them ready for college or prepare them for a family-wage job – no matter how well the students learn or the teachers teach. This isn’t an accident or a flaw in the system; it is the system."

If you want to read the whole speech, you may go to this link .


Blogger Pete said...

Is it just me, or is Gates implying that only college-educated types will ultimately qualify as "citizens"?

5/02/2005 9:48 AM  
Blogger fromclay said...

Well, to me the main problem with Gates' statement is the fact that he said it. I know what he did, "borrowed" other people's brilliant ideas and converted them into corporate profits. But, you know, one of the challenges of life. I guess what he's saying is that high schools are mind-numbing experiences that have perfected the production of average drones. To be honest, whenever I think of my HS days, he's probably right. But after reading your take on his speech, it's interesting how he frames the issue and the qualifications for Citizenry. But it's probably my high school education that caused me to miss that point. Thanks, Pete.

5/02/2005 10:38 AM  
Blogger Julaybib said...


Ted Wragg's cubic curriculum addresses similar concerns - in fact, this whole debate is far from new. The problems in the UK is a deeply conservative education professional, where two thirds of teachers are over 40, and a government that wants schools to be an apendage of corporate life.

The result is that we now have an education system that has never done so much to discourage children from learning, where the most successful students are now those who are competent in passing tests and exams.

Indeed, the whole push for more academic graduates is class driven, in a way which is probably not disimilar to Ancient China.



5/02/2005 11:59 AM  
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10/11/2005 10:35 PM  

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