The Factory-Model School Can’t Be Reformed – It Must Be Transformed!

June 24, 2012

Interesting side note: This week I had the honor of co-presenting a session about blogging at finalsite university in Hartford, Connecticut (finalsite hosts Delphian’s website and provides our content management system).  During the session I actually posted Wednesday’s blog about Rudy Crew!  Not many bloggers can say they posted their blog in front of a live audience!

Now onto the important topic of the day – why the factory model school can’t be reformed – it must be transformed.  

While many writers and thinkers have explained this well, Bill Gates made it very clear when he spoke to the National Governors Association in February of 2005.  At their National Education Summit on High Schools, he said:

 

“When we looked at the millions of students that our high schools are not preparing for higher education – and we looked at the damaging impact that has on their lives – we came to a painful conclusion:  

 

“America’s high schools are obsolete.  

 

“By obsolete, I don’t just mean that our high schools are broken, flawed, and underfunded – though a case could be made for every one of those points.   

 

“By obsolete, I mean that our high schools – even when they’re working exactly as designed – cannot teach our kids what they need to know today.

 

“Training the workforce of tomorrow with the high schools of today is like trying to teach kids about today’s computers on a 50-year-old mainframe. It’s the wrong tool for the times.     

 

“Our high schools were designed fifty years ago to meet the needs of another age.  Until we design them to meet the needs of the 21st century, we will keep limiting – even ruining – the lives of millions of Americans every year.”

Get it!  The factory model school can’t be reformed – it must be transformed!

In my June 3 blog, I quoted Maine Education Commissioner Stephen Bowen: “Our legacy system was designed for a different century.”  In his words “[a]t long last, can we move away from the assembly-line, age-based grade level system we’ve endured for generations, and move to a system where students move upon demonstration of mastery?”

Get it!  The factory model school can’t be reformed – it must be transformed!

The authors of Inevitable: Mass Customized Learning say:

“Harsh Reality #2  We are Industrial Age organizations existing in an Information Age world.”  

 

“The graded, assembly-line organizational structure of schools used to make sense.  It doesn’t anymore!”

Get it!  The factory model school can’t be reformed – it must be transformed!

That’s why I no longer talk or think about education reform.  You shouldn’t either.  It is the wrong concept!  We all need to think about school transformation.  

This concept hurts to think about.  Changing the school day, the school year, the lay of the land, the role of teachers, the nature of the curriculum, the role of the student,…everything!  But that is the only way to address an obsolete system that Bill Gates tells us was “designed fifty years ago to meet the needs of another age”…”It’s the wrong tool for the times.”  We need to transform our schools!

 

Despite the pain, we must think this through and then take action.  If our schools are obsolete and must be transformed, where do we go from here and how fast can we get there?  Hmmm…

Posted by marks on Sunday June 24, 2012 at 09:36AM

Be Sociable, Share!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Proficiency Ed © 2017