How happy am I that we're getting more articles about education reform from the New York Times pundits?
Today, Friedman talks more about how we need to reform schools, if we want to improve our economy. He says that children need to know more than just how to read and write; they need to learn how to be innovative and entrepreneurial in order to retain their jobs in a global market. Workers that have survived the recession have that skill set. Those that merely did the work on their desk were axed.
That is the key to understanding our full education challenge today.
Those who are waiting for this recession to end so someone can again
hand them work could have a long wait. Those with the imagination to
make themselves untouchables — to invent smarter ways to do old jobs,
energy-saving ways to provide new services, new ways to attract old
customers or new ways to combine existing technologies — will thrive.
Therefore, we not only need a higher percentage of our kids graduating
from high school and college — more education — but we need more of
them with the right education.
I find Friedman's column a little depressing, because schools as a whole aren't even doing a satisfactory job with the reading and writing thing. Now, we expect them to teach innovative thinking, too?
In addition, schools have never been able to teach innovation. Schools were set up to create a homogeneous mass of unthinking workers. That's what they do best. They reward kids who sit motionless in seats, draw inside the lines, and have neat desks. There are no boxes for innovation or creativity on Jonah's Progress Report, just "keeps desk neat" and "listens attentively".
So, I'm happy that the Times is dealing with education reform. However, I'm going to check off "needs improvement" on their Progress Report.