I have been barraged this weekend with several different perspectives on the movie “Waiting for Superman.” I haven’t seen the movie yet and don’t know if I ever will, but I find the discussions surrounding the movie interesting.
I was sent a link for a discussion that was moderated by Oprah. The discussion includes New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, Newark Mayor Cory Baker, Geoffry Canada, and Mark Zuckerberg. I found what they had to say interesting, but the more I watched, the more I found myself thinking about the fact that there is so much talking going on about how to improve education, but not a whole lot happening to actually make the change.
I know there is a bunch of money out there being funneled into certain education programs, especially those supporting STEM ideals. However, where there is lots of money being spent in one area, there is money being taken from others. The problem is that all the money in the world doesn’t make a system run any better. It may help, but money is not the end all solution.
I don’t write this blog to complain.
What I want to do is find out how to get things rolling, so we can see real change in our education system. I am rereading “Rework,” a book written by Jason Fried and David Hansson. Basically, this book serves as a no-nonsense guide on how to run a business efficiently in the 21st Century. So what does this have to do with education.
As far as I am concerned, if we could run schools like a business, things might start to change. Now I know that the whole system can’t run exactly like a business, but there are many similarities, and successful businesses today are changing the rules of how business run, as is shown in this book.
The chapter I just read is called “Reasons to Quit.” Here are the questions Fried and Hansson ask us to ask in looking at how effective our current system runs.
1. Why are you doing this?
2. What problem are you solving?
3. Is this actually useful?
4. Are you adding value?
5. Will this change behavior?
6. Is there an easier way?
7. What could you be doing instead?
8. Is it really worth it?
I actually have a good smart-alleck remark for all of these questions regarding education and how things are currently running, but I will let you answer the questions yourself. Just think of what you do on a day to day basis as a teacher or administrator and ask these questions about what you are doing.