Big Education, the reprise

Hot on the heels of my last post comes a discussion about the subsequent discussions. It would be fair to say my grand plan did not meet with unanimous acclaim. But I am keen for the discussion to continue.


I will attempt to summarise these (possibly unfairly).

1. Good idea
2. Not necessary,our schools/unis are doing a good job
3. Not necessary, I flunked (school/uni) and look at me
4. Let’s all be volunteers
5. Let’s spend money on my pet project
6. Schools can’t do everything

Good Idea
I like this response. It shows foresight, vision and intelligence. Let’s organise.
They are. We do pretty well on OECD stats. This a credit to our society, teachers and education establishments. The debate though is not about current performance but future needs.

Not necessary,our schools/unis are doing a good job
I don’t think the status quo is good enough. If it were we would not be sliding down the various OECD scales we use to measure economic performance. We would not be fretting about where the future developers scientists, technologists, inventors, artists and so on will be coming from, and we would not be seeing 50,000 people moving to Australia every.single.year, no matter who is in power.

We can build on what we have. Improve. Ensure that future Google employees don’t get bored at school, ensure the long tale (often of immigrant children) does not get left behind and ensure that more and more students get a chance to hit their potential.

My Grandfather was principal of Scotland’s first comprehensive school. He believed everybody had a talent for genius. The trick was to give them the opportunity to recognise and develop that talent. I would like to know from teachers and parents if we are doing that, across the board?

Not necessary, I flunked (school/uni) and look at me
Snap, QED.

Seriously though, talk to your grandparents or people in less developed countries. Access to free public education is critical for breaking from the traps of poverty, both physical and mental. It is also critical for little things like democracy, the development of economies and freedom.

One of my prouder moments was getting a degree in my 30s. May not be much use in my day job but I certainly found the process and disciplines of obtaining that degree very helpful. See, anecdotes work both ways. Evidence is better. Evidence favours education.

Let’s all be volunteers
Yes, let’s. That is very important.

But volunteer-ism does not and should replace core services, it augments and helps form and sustain strong communities. But to it can replace core services condemns us to reliance on Victorian Charity, which was discredited as long ago as Victorian times :-)

Let’s spend money on my pet project
I found this response the most depressing to be honest. It felt as though all the talk about education, weightless economies and so on was just talk. If we in the business communities want to thrive and survive we need to start acting and not just talking.

I am no educationalist or an expert on what parts of our system need the most attention. I am happy to leave that to experts.

But, let’s triple the money available to those people. Now.

Schools can’t do everything
No they cannot. But they can educate, that is the core of their mission. I am proposing they are allowed to do more of it and to reach ever higher standards.

So, enough from me, over to you.

Share this article:
  • Digg
  • E-mail this story to a friend!
  • Reddit
  • Scoopit
  • StumbleUpon
  • Twitter