"It's obvious the system's broken. Let's admit it's broken, let's admit it's dysfunctional, and let's do something dramatically different, and let's do it now. But don't just tinker around the edges. Don't just play with it. Let's fix the thing."So he has a big pot of cash to throw at teachers and systems that can measurably demonstrate they are doing a better job.
I can say quite clearly and with a huge body of evidence to back me up, that the problem with American education is that it has largely ignored and forgotten the education of the hands and the essential relationship between hand, mind and heart. Last year when I was at the University of Helsinki, I visited the wood shop in the education department where kindergarten teachers were being taught woodworking skills so they could teach woodworking to their children. Would it be any surprise that Finland would lead the world in 8th grade student achievement in reading and math? Engage the hands in learning and the whole student follows. Ignore the hands and you lose the child's emotional and physical engagement in education. So, I agree with Arne. Let's fix the thing. But it may be a bit harder than some would expect. Very few teachers have had education of their own hands or in the relationship between hand and mind, and there is a strong academic bias against hand skills except those that fall into the narrowly defined category, "art".
It was a pleasure starting back to school last week and discovering how excited our Clear Spring School children were to have summer vacation over and structured learning commence again. Cyrano had told his mother that he couldn't wait to get back to his two favorite things, wood shop and math. Get the picture?