By Rich Pezzullo
Tell me anything that took 12 years to accomplish in 1960 that takes that long today? Hmm
Education of a useful productive adult human? Politicians touting free college are trying to make the case that now it should take 16 years of education to make a human productive, engaged, happy and, with a nod towards Maslow, capable of self-actualization.
“You say you want a revolution?” Try this on for size. Instead of creating an new economy for the realities of the 21st century, why don’t we create a new education system to feed the economy that has shown itself to be capable of taking every sort of labor input and creating jobs, products and services?
First, we eliminate the only lawful discrimination that still exists on the books – the snooty capability of employers to discriminate based on college “degree.” Unless an employer can demonstrate that the product of a specific curriculum is required to perform the duties of a position, they should (rightfully) be prohibited from requiring a person to purchase and complete college courses. It’s the ultimate discriminator of poor, working class people. It needs to be prohibited.
In retail, for instance, 80 percent of supervisory and management positions require college degrees. Few of the entry level employees hold such degrees, and due to the nature of the job, lack the resources of time and money to buy a degree. So promotions are based largely on what the employee learns OUTSIDE the business, and people who dedicate themselves to working INSIDE the business are punished and discriminated against.
This is true of the first rung of the ladder in every industry. Becoming good at your job and expert in you field is not sufficient to get a promotion. Fifteen years working on the floor at convenience stores still won’t get an employee over the first hurdle to be a store manager, much less a district manager.
Second, we need to eliminate homework. The skills necessary to learn, and the learning itself should happen within the walls of the school. When a kid leaves school, they should be allowed to leave it behind. School should not extend past the school day. If parents want to tutor at home, training and resources for them will be made available. The exception is the “summer project” which would include a reading list and an report with a topic and length that is age appropriate.
Third, we need to change the labor laws to include a training wage of $6.50 per hour with a limit of four hours per day, maximum of 20 hours per week and a curfew of 6 PM. Early release at 4 PM for sports will be permitted, encouraged and not punished. This program is a privilege, not a right. Assuming a student completed their summer assignments, they could participate in the program for the fall semester. If they make up the summer assignment over winter break, they can participate in the spring semester.
Fourth, we need to change the curriculum delivery system to allow children in grades 8 to 12 to be finished with curriculum by 1 PM, giving them time to travel to work and still get their four hours in. Certainly we have developed the technology to get that done!
Fifth, we need to fill the time from 1 PM to 4 PM in schools with remedial assistance, if necessary, re-running the morning curriculum, for kids that don’t meet the academic requirements for release at 1 PM . (it’s a privilege not a right) or vocational and life skills training for those who don’t have a “training wage” job to go to.
Sixth, we need to open the schools from 7 PM to 9 PM for AP classes for kids that want to go to the college route. These would be free, voluntary and rigorous. These would be taught by teachers with a work day from 2 to 10 PM.
By the time someone is 18, they have had a taste of life on the working schedule, a chance to groom themselves for participation in the workforce after school. And fields like coding, graphics design, audio and video production, robotics,etc, will have entry routes without the stress that’s associated with “college”
College is a 19th century tradition, filled with 20th century bloat and infused with a 21st century sense of privilege. If we want to free a generation to participate in the growth and benefits of a powerful 21st century economy, we need to free them from the classrooms.
By now we MUST have developed the technology and culture to do that in less than 16 years.
Why haven’t we?