Published on 2012/06/18

How iLearn, How iWork - Upgrading Our Higher Education System for Today's Realities

The standard of higher education in today’s society is causing learners to fall behind students from other countries. Photo by John H Kleschinsky.

We still have a lot of doubting Thomas’ or detractors, like it or not, who don’t believe that we are evolving into a global economy and a global workforce.  Far too many don’t believe it will affect them, even if they are educated and well informed.  Well, it does affect everyone at every cash register and with every credit card swipe.

“So what?”, you might say.  It’s a free country.  Yes, we are a nation which enjoys more freedoms than any on the face of the planet.  However, if we don’t fix our education process to be more relevant and provide teaching methods for our students to really learn and comprehend faster, those freedoms will be in jeopardy.

We have two choices.  We can continue to let politicians, unions, and bureaucrats decide how best to educate us… or we can get involved and demand the results we need to maintain our standard of living and future opportunities.

It is not necessary to insert lots of charts and statistics to know that after pouring billions into our education system and instructors’ salaries, we are rapidly falling behind 23 other countries in graduates in science and math.  Only a fool would say this is working for us.  Other developing counties now have growing populations of educated workers who can and will do minimum wage or repetitive work we used to call entry-level jobs at a lower cost.

In addition, technology and automation has eliminated many minimum wage or low experience jobs.  None of this is NEW news, and it means the education bar has been raised as the needs for higher levels of knowledge are required of a knowledge worker society.  Knowledge achievement retention and application remains a constant in the workplace.

That means you can never stop attempting to learn more that is relevant to the global needs in a global workforce.   Why?  Because it the free market rewards innovation.  A society that continues to increase and expand the knowledge and its capabilities and capacities logically sustains the highest standard of living and distribution of wealth.

In less than six months, Americans will have to make their choice to keep throwing borrowed money at a broken education system which is losing ground to other nations more rapidly, or find new ways to provide the education process needed and change the course of our national debt.

Way back in 2005, then-Governor of Massachusetts Mitt Romney, stated, “There is no question we are affected by workforce outsourcing, as is every other state.  Any job that leaves is a big loss for families and tax revenues.  We want to fight for every job for the Commonwealth.  Ultimately, how you compete with low-cost labor offered by other countries is by having a more educated, hard working and capable workforce.  That means you make the right kinds of investments in two things: education and innovation.”

It is long past time we got started with those RIGHT investments. Waiting for a “trickle down” economy isn’t a solution.  Throwing borrowed money at bad results isn’t a solution.  Hiring more mediocre educators who can’t be fired without a “hold the institution hostage” contract isn’t a solution.  College and adult educators who teach a bias to an ideology or hide behind tenure is not a solution, etc.

This is not to say there aren’t a lot of good instructors.  My older brother was a good one for 45 years.  If he were alive today, he would agree that we have done it to ourselves.  Where’s the innovation here?  Certainly not from the academic community.

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