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Better Schools Won’t Fix America

By The Atlantic

Like many rich Americans, I used to think educational investment could heal the country’s ills—but I was wrong. Fighting inequality must come firstRead full story

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  • Charles Adams
    Charles AdamsCOO at Agriglobal Commodities Inc

    ' He was institutionalized'. This is from Shawshank Redemption. Morgan Freeman and his fellow inmates were talking about a friend that after 50 years in prison could not adapt to being on the outside and hung himself. Institutionalism is an inability to think outside the box with the illusion you are correct compounding the problem. This is the advocates presupposition for this 'educational' institution. Their starting point. A little history, this style of education comes from Prussia. Horace Mann

    ' He was institutionalized'. This is from Shawshank Redemption. Morgan Freeman and his fellow inmates were talking about a friend that after 50 years in prison could not adapt to being on the outside and hung himself. Institutionalism is an inability to think outside the box with the illusion you are correct compounding the problem. This is the advocates presupposition for this 'educational' institution. Their starting point. A little history, this style of education comes from Prussia. Horace Mann brought here in 1807 to Harvard. It became the standard and it was used to train soldiers and factory workers. The industrial revolution hits and there was a workforce ready. Now, the problem arises, change. With our change of workers needed for a different economy. This system is like training fish to climb trees. So, money is not the problem, the system is obsolete. But we as a collective can't adapt. We spend outrageous amounts of resources into this system that quite simply does not work. Extrapolate this conclusion out to the present, we can see the problem. There are much better systems that feed the present and future economy.

  • No one thing will fix a complex system. True that.

    But the article unwittingly makes a case that mistaking correlation for causation remains a bad idea.

    We have major problems in education. Not across the board, but in many inner cities. We have school systems where it’s common for less than half the students to graduate. And some who graduate can’t read or write. We have inner city school systems where students cannot fail for performance. No matter how poorly they perform they move on to the

    No one thing will fix a complex system. True that.

    But the article unwittingly makes a case that mistaking correlation for causation remains a bad idea.

    We have major problems in education. Not across the board, but in many inner cities. We have school systems where it’s common for less than half the students to graduate. And some who graduate can’t read or write. We have inner city school systems where students cannot fail for performance. No matter how poorly they perform they move on to the next grade.

    We have teachers spending more than half their day on discipline. We have traumatized children who aren’t capable of moderate behavior in a classroom.

    Our education problem is a social problem. We need broader support for these students outside of the classroom.

    Giving the parents of these failing students free money isn’t going to help. Altering parental income without addressing the mess these unfortunate children deal with won’t solve the education problem. It won’t produce better financial outcomes for these children’s futures.

    You can’t just change what happens at school. The problem is bigger than that. But what happens at school is the one thing, politically, that we can address in our PC world. And that’s better than doing nothing and better than flushing more money down the drain.

  • Better schools might not fix America but they sure would help!

  • Weiyee IN
    Weiyee INChief Strategy Officer

    It is far too easy to blame household income as this source of all evil in America. Regardless of what social programs, or economic incentives are used to adjust any of these issues (assuming that we want to adjust them proactively) the reality is still a major problem for the education system. Unless the United States is able to overhaul the education system in a meaningful way, we are going to be left with a country with a massive population that needs to be up skilled and re-educated in order

    It is far too easy to blame household income as this source of all evil in America. Regardless of what social programs, or economic incentives are used to adjust any of these issues (assuming that we want to adjust them proactively) the reality is still a major problem for the education system. Unless the United States is able to overhaul the education system in a meaningful way, we are going to be left with a country with a massive population that needs to be up skilled and re-educated in order to stay even moderately competitive in the New world order of automation and artificial intelligence. If the education issues are not addressed, and in a way focused on a far deeper understanding and integration of technology, well beyond upskilling to use automation systems, we shall lose our innovation abilities as a national competitive advantage. The resultant impact of that on household income will be far greater in the longer term.

  • Catherine Tannahill
    Catherine Tannahillprof, teacher

    I would posit that a significant portion of the school problems are related to student expectations. Not what is expected of students but that which is expected by students. You find math hard, the teacher should make it easier. I tried is mightier than I did. You don't like the teacher, you don't have to get along. It's boring, entertain me. You prove to me why I have to learn grammar or fractions. I don't get a good grade, it's the teacher's fault. I need good grades to go to Harvard & I am entitled

    I would posit that a significant portion of the school problems are related to student expectations. Not what is expected of students but that which is expected by students. You find math hard, the teacher should make it easier. I tried is mightier than I did. You don't like the teacher, you don't have to get along. It's boring, entertain me. You prove to me why I have to learn grammar or fractions. I don't get a good grade, it's the teacher's fault. I need good grades to go to Harvard & I am entitled to go to Harvard because I want to & because I am worthy. I want it, I get it. Can't take anything to damage my GPA so keep it easy. Tell me THE right answer, don't make me think, I might not have the 'right' answer.

    Good education is a partnership of parents, students & educators. Teachers teach, students learn. I teach students, I don't learn them.

  • Louise Sumrell
    Louise Sumrell

    Poor education and bigotry/inequality are self-perpetuating. Good education, along with good emotional health/life-skills, starts at home.

    Teaching our children the basic skills to successfully navigate life is paramount.

    Rather than ask the question,"How is life treating you?", ask, instead,"How are you treating life?"

  • Brian  Nisbet
    Brian Nisbet Retired Lens Grinder

    Peter Neeves , you are a man of greatness ! Well said.

  • Edy Semaan
    Edy Semaan

    But affordable higher education will.

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