Sunday, September 05, 2010

extraordinary education

A cover story in the New York Times tells that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is making a "hands-on effort" toward peace in the middle east. The term hands-on is associated with extraordinary effort. We know when someone engages hands-on, it is with their whole being and complete attention. Doesn't it make you wonder whether we care for our children or not? Why have we chosen to give them less than our best? Is hands-on learning a special quality of eduction? Do I need to ask, or is it something that you have experienced for yourself? What does hands-on mean if not?

I think it is time for extraordinary effort toward extraordinary education. The simple means toward this end? The Strategic engagement of the hands. Make, make do, fix, mend, create, plant, harvest, care, care for, etc.

On a slightly different subject, German automaker BMW is facing the challenge presented by an aging field of skilled employees and a lack of skilled workers to take their places on the lines to fill holes left by retirement. To help take greater charge of their future, BMW set up an assembly line of older workers, and asked their advice on what improvements could be made to enable factories to maintain efficiency with older workers. The workers came up with a list of improvements costing the company $50,000 and increasing efficiency by 7 percent. In other words, by asking skilled workers for advice, the company made millions on a very small investment. It is what happens when management trusts the wisdom of the hands. We have learned to associate European craftsmanship with quality, but they like we, have been making schools more efficient and less effective. And so we have to ask ourselves what we want schooling to do, and make the changes necessary to get what we want. Do we really want a nation of idiots?

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous8:59 AM

    Imagine! Trusting old-timers to have learned something over the years. What a concept.